Review: Killer Kung Pao (A Noodle Shop Mystery)

Killer Kung Pao by Viven Chien

“Lana Lee is feeling stressed. Between updating her family’s Chinese restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House, orchestrating a weekend long sidewalk sale for her restaurant and the other businesses in the Asia Village, and lending a sympathetic ear to just about everyone in her orbit, she’s beat. Unfortunately, things are about to get even crazier for poor, overworked Lana.”

I heard about the Noodle Shop Mystery series earlier this year and was immediately intrigued by the titles and covers! When I saw Killer Kung Pao by Viven Chien on NetGalley, I knew I had to read the book and give the series a try. I wasn’t sure if they had to be read in order, but I took a gamble and was so pleased with the story.

Killer Kung Pao is the sixth book in this series, but luckily you can read them out of order without too much issue. There were some references to events that happened in other books in the series, but you didn’t need to understand them to follow this story and its specific details.

In this book Lana Lee (the leading lady in the series) finds herself wrapped up in a murder mystery. This seems to be an unfortunate, regular occurrence for her, but she loves to play the role of detective and find out what actually happened. I found this incredibly amusing considering her boyfriend is an actual detective working the same case.

The story takes place within the Chinese community of Cleveland, Ohio. The majority of events occur in a business complex called Asia Village, where Lana manages her family’s Chinese restaurant. There’s also a bakery, hair salon, and many other small, family-owned businesses.

One Saturday morning, as Lana is dying her hair another bold, beautiful color, something sinister happens at the salon and a well-known individual within the community ends up dead. Lana is immediately suspicious, and even though she promises herself she won’t get caught up in another personal investigation, she finds herself tracking down leads and uncovering secrets in order to find the truth.

I found the story to be well-paced and entertaining enough, even though there wasn’t a major twist. There were more than enough characters involved, which kept you guessing as to who was guilty. At times it was a little confusing trying to keep track of everyone, but for me, that only added to the mystery of the unknown killer.

Killer Kung Pao was a quick read with lots of dialogue and a great, built-out cast and community of characters. I enjoyed the book from start to finish, and definitely want to go back and read the first five books in the series to learn more about Lana and her story.

Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley. Killer Kung Pao came out on August 25, 2020 and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

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