Released: September 2015
On the eve of his daughter’s wedding, Chief Hung Duong is about to make a choice that will change both his life and his family’s lives forever. Set in Vietnam, this small town police chief seeks out a loan for his daughter’s wedding but little does he know what he’s actually signing over.
The opening few pages of Creative Truths in Provincial Policing features a mother warning her daughter of the ways of the sexual male, and how to avoid her future husband’s advances; headaches, fake rabies, ‘the cultivation of lice in the bush’. With dry comedy and an intriguing introduction, I was hooked from the get go.
Although the Duong’s are primarily the centre of the story, every individual family member has their own tale to tell and the book follows each of them, hopping from one piece to the next, yet it never gets so convoluted that it becomes difficult to follow.
Fang Duong – a mute who can talk to animals and who joins a runaway Yorkshire lass to free all the monkeys in the region – was my favourite character in the story. This mute Dr Dolittle had a lovely nature that I could really relate to (maybe it’s my inner vegan…). The book had a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and I was unable to put it down because I was constantly wondering what would come next.
Paula Lichtarowicz’s debut novel was The First Book Of Calamity Leek, which was described as ‘a mash-up of Roald Dahl and Margaret Atwood’ (Lady), and I think they hit the nail on the head with that statement. Paula’s day job is in television production but she’s an immensely talented writer with the ability to draw readers into her story.
If you liked Lichtarowicz’s previous novel, are a big fan of crime thrillers, or you love animal activism, then you’ll adore this book.