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On the Line: A Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novel (Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novels) Hardcover – September 28, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Bill Smith/Lydia Chin Novels (Book 10)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st Printing edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312544499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312544492
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,467,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Edgar-winner Rozan's exciting 10th novel featuring New York City PIs Bill Smith and Lydia Chin (after 2009's The Shanghai Moon), Bill receives a phone call from someone using Lydia's cell who claims to have kidnapped Lydia. Lydia gets on the line long enough for Bill to realize this is no joke. The fiend gives Bill a 12-hour deadline, doles out clues that lead to other victims, and changes the "rules" just to keep things interesting. Forced to improvise wildly, Bill finds himself at odds with the cops, who consider him a suspect in at least one murder, but he's fortunate to have such supporters as Lydia's cyber expert cousin, Linus Wong, and Lydia's best friend, NYPD detective Mary Kee. The tension rises as Bill tries to figure out who the villain is and how he can get ahead of someone who holds all the high cards. Some neat twists keep the reader guessing to the surprise kick ending.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Expecting his partner Lydia Chin’s voice when he picks up his chirping cell phone, PI Bill Smith is shocked to hear an unidentified man on the line, telling him that Lydia is a hostage—and Smith has 12 hours to locate her before she will be killed. Clues to her whereabouts come by phone, delivered by the heckling voice of a man obviously out for vengeance. But for what? To help him track the kidnapper, Bill enlists the aid of Lydia’s nephew, a crackerjack young techie, who brings along his goth girlfriend, a force to be reckoned with all by herself. The trio, aided on the sly by Lydia’s cop-pal Mary, runs a race against the clock, finding little related to Lydia but a lot of kidnapped Chinese prostitutes who need saving, and a vicious pimp who thinks Bill is wrecking his business. With zilch to go on, Bill sees only one option: play along until the lunatic makes a mistake. Of course, that eventually happens, and the action never stops until the lost is found. A high-velocity entry in a reliable series. --Stephanie Zvirin

More About the Author

SJ Rozan was born and raised in the Bronx and is proud of it. She spent over twenty years as an architect in New York City and is kind of proud of that, too. Now she writes and teaches. She's done 10 books in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series (the newest, ON THE LINE, comes out Sept. 28, 2010) and two standalones. She's also published three dozen short stories. A collection of her stories, A TALE ABOUT A TIGER, is available, and a second volume is coming.

SJ's work has won the Edgar, Anthony, Shamus, Nero and Macavity Awards, and she's a recipient of the Japanese Maltese Falcon. She's served on the National Boards of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She's a past President of the Private Eye Writers of America. She's been Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime (El Paso, 2003), Toastmaster at Bouchercon (Indianapolis, 2009), an invited speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (2003) and as if that weren't enough, she has the key to the city of Fort Worth, Texas.

Customer Reviews

S.J. Rozan's new entry in her Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series.
M. Baugh
Unfortunately the author seems to think that copious use of foul language helps.
J. White
WARNING: Better set aside some time to read this; you can't put it down!
James William Hopkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Baugh on October 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
S.J. Rozan's new entry in her Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series. Rozan alternates which character narrates the novel and this time it's Bill's turn. In fact, this time Bill's the whole show, though Lydia's presence is felt throughout.

Lydia Chin has been kidnapped by someone from Bill's past, an unstable man obsessed with games. He wants to punish Bill for an old defeat and to crush him in the process. He leaves a series of clues, together with a string of dead or imperiled Chinese prostitutes across New York, and gives Bill 12 hours to solve his riddles or Lydia will die.

Rozan's novels never lack for excitement, but this is the fastest paced. It's more thriller than mystery, but an intelligent thriller with moments of deep insight. It's genuinely tense, but may also be Rozan's funniest book to date. Rozan loves thwarting stereotypes and the assortment of unlikely allies Bill picks up on his quest are amazing. There's Linus, a genius computer hacker and his ultra-competent goth girlfriend, Trella, Lu the Chinatown pimp and his two gorillas (one of whom can be friended on Facebook), Mary, the dead serious and perpetually pissed off cop who is Lydia's best friend, the enigmatic crazed kidnapper, and Woof, the hero-dog.

My descriptions may make them sound trite, but they're anything but. Each of them comes to life with the kind of unexpected depth of a living, breathing human being. The story is improbable, but Rozan moves it along in such a a way that I hardly noticed. My only real gripe is that Bill seemed a little too dense when it came to the mysteries of Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone.

This book is an interesting companion piece for Rozan's last story featuring Bill as narrator, WINTER AND NIGHT.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is my first Lydia Chin/Bill Smith novel and I have to say I will be going back for more. I expected the usual crime novel scenario, but Rozen gives her story an extra twist, propelling PI Bill Smith and his partner into a chaotic game of cat and mouse. Lydia has been kidnapped and Bill has twelve hours to find her. An assortment of jumbled clues leads him from one location to another, each rigged with a deadly surprise. Thus begins a series of rendezvous, Bill never prepared for the life-and-death nightmares at the end of each phase of the "game". The first destination yields a dead body, but before Bill can assimilate the information- and register that it isn't Lydia-cops converge on the scene with sirens screaming. On the run, Bill is a prime suspect as he staggers from one deadly situation to another.

The stars of the piece are Lydia's hacker cousin, Linus Wong, and his punk friend, Trella, children of the new millennium. While Bill flounders, relying on old methods to race from one destination to another, Linus and Trella ride the waves of technology, texting and Twittering, saving precious time. Bill navigates an increasingly treacherous journey through the streets of New York, from Chinatown to Manhattan, as Rozen captures society's changing demographic, tech-savvy kids whose community ties yield unexpected support, Bill in awe of their skills and courage, an assortment of New York denizens and a relentlessly ticking clock. The action jumps from threatening stand-offs to digital mastery, a blend of snappy dialog and frantic pace of car chases, exploding bombs, Chinese gangsters, police pursuits and the distorted voice of the lunatic making impossible demands on the emotionally ragged PI.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robin Agnew on October 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
S.J. Rozan's new book is a change up from her last book, THE SHANGHAI MOON. This one is Bill's book, and he's on the hunt for a kidnapped Lydia. Combining clever clues (random items disguised as garbage) and giving Bill only a 12 hour time frame to rescue Lydia, the suspense doesn't let up. What Rozan is so wonderful at is leavening her books with humor - much of it in this book is thanks to Lydia's slacker cousin, Linus, and his friend Trella. There's a bravura scene towards the end where Linus and Trella actually use facebook and twitter to track the killer, leaving Bill utterly astonished. Rozan is also wonderful at plot turns that aren't exactly twists, but they are very unexpected. She keeps you on your toes, supplying great new characters along the way. This book was a total blast to read; I couldn't put it down. The puzzles are as much fun as the suspense.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael. on November 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Next in the Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series by Rozan is "On The Line." This is very much a Bill Smith book - but one with a different tone than the earlier mysteries. Bill's voice is the one we hear - angry, tormented and loud. He is forced to play a game, with the prize being Lydia's life. Assisted by two new, young and hip characters, Linus and Trella, Bill has to solve some nasty little puzzles to find the kidnapped Lydia. With interesting glimpses of various New York neighborhoods and quirky underworld characters, this book moves fast.

Rozan has always had a light touch with her characters. In this book, with Bill Smith beside himself with anger and fear, Linus and Trella add much needed humor. It works.
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