Thursday, January 26, 2012

Protection for Hire by Camy Tang

A short while ago, I stumbled across Camy Tang’s books. They’re unique because she writes with Asian characters as the protagonists. Needless to say, her latest book Protection for Hire has a lot of unique things about it. What I find most remarkable about this book is the fact that it melds the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) and Christian fiction so well. In fact, I don’t remember ever reading a book quite like it.
Protection for Hire stars Tessa, the niece of the Yakuza head (or oyabun) in LA. A few years ago, while working for her uncle, she took the blame for a murder by her cousin and was sent to jail, where she found Christ. Now, she’s out of jail and trying to make a clean break from her past, when she lands a job as a bodyguard to Elizabeth St. Amant and her son.
To put things simply: I loved this book. It’s easy to read and more than captivating. Tessa is a very likeable character, and I could really identify with her struggles. One of her main problems is trying to get along with her mother and sister, who feel that she has shamed them by going to prison (and working for her uncle). This is something that I can completely identify with (but for different reasons). The way they push her buttons, is so similar to how my family can push my buttons that it’s eerie.
Another thing that I found interesting was how Tessa was compared to Paul. Although this was mentioned only in passing, I still think it’s a very valid reference. Like Paul, Tessa did a lot of harm in her previous life, and when she became a Christian, she also faced a lot of suspicion. Throughout the book, there’re many examples of how she’s discriminated against: from the disbelief of her family to gossip by those she tries to help and the inability to find a proper job. It’s a good reminder of how being a Christian hasn’t changed from the beginning till now, and that there are no excuses to expect to have an easy life.
In short, I highly recommend this book. It funny and action-packed and most importantly, it shows us that no matter what a background, God can create in us a new beginning.

Disclaimer: I got this book free from NetGalley. I was asked to write a review, but all opinions written here are mine.

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