Ghost Month by Ed Lin, is a 2014 mystery novel that takes place in Taiwan. I enjoyed the book -the characters were people you got to know and cared about, the plot was focused (if slow-moving), and the setting was well-developed. I learned a lot about the culture and food of Taipei, and I love reading books that take place in areas I'm not familiar with.
From the back of the book:
August is Ghost Month in Taiwan -a time to pay respects to the dead and avoid unlucky omens. Jing-nan,Kirkus Reviews concludes, "The teeming Taipei setting and the tormented hero combine to create a furious energy that transcends a whodunit plot too mundane even to capture Jing-nan’s full attention." The Boston Globe says, "Come for the exotic food and fascinating setting; stay for the characters." Mysterious Reviews didn't like it and says, "Ghost Month is an odd crime novel in which the mystery of who killed Jenny and why is completely secondary to a running commentary from Jing-nan on all things Taiwanese." Publishers Weekly hopes for a sequel.
who runs a food stall in a bustling Taipei night market, isn't superstitious, but this August will haunt him. He learns that his high school sweetheart has been murdered -found scantily clad near a highway where she had been selling betel nuts. "Betel nut beauties" are typically women in desperate circumstances, but Julia Huang was high school valedictorian, and the last time Jing-nan spoke to her, she was far away, happily enrolled in NYU's hjonor program. The facts don't add up. Julia's parents don't think so, either, but the police seem to have closed the case without asking any questions. The Huangs beg Jing-nan to do some investigating, but nothing can prepare him for what he is about to learn, or how it will change his life.
NPRhas an interview with the author.