“Needham writes so that you can smell the street food mingling with the traffic jams, the sweat and the garbage.”
JACK SHEPHERD IS a lawyer, but he doesn’t much like to admit it. He left the sour life of a Washington lawyer far behind and now he works by himself in Hong Kong. He no longer lobbies government agencies, negotiates for corporations, or shows up in court. From his little unmarked office on Hollywood Road, he works quietly to solve the problems his big-money clients don’t want anyone else to know they have.
One of the world’s largest casino operators discovers a massive money-laundering scheme targeting its casino in Macau and they ask Jack Shepherd to shut it down. Macau is a tiny place on the South China Coast that is the biggest gambling center on earth. It is also a stronghold of Chinese organized crime, which makes it a dicey place for a white guy to go around asking too many questions.
Shepherd is in Macau ducking Chinese gangsters and searching for the source of the black money swamping the casinos when he is sucked into a bizarre caper. A man who knows the most secret schemes of the North Korean government has found out that Shepherd still has high-level connections in Washington. He wants Shepherd to slip him out of Macau and get him political asylum in America, maybe with a nice beach house in Hawaii thrown in for good measure.
Soon Shepherd is tumbling headlong through this modern-day Casablanca on the South China Sea, a bubbling caldron of gunrunners, money launderers, hustlers, gangsters, gamblers, con men, and spies. He joins forces with the daughter of a shadowy old man everybody calls the King of Macau to outwit the Chinese gangsters and shut down the black money flow. At the same time, he has to battle a gaggle of North Korean hit men to try and bring his defector in alive.
Move too fast, and he’ll lose control of everything. Move too slow…and Macau just might kill him.