In this debut novel, we follow a young woman named Claudia Lin, an employee recruited by Veracity, an online-dating detective agency. Set in New York, this Private Eye story explores the ideas of how technology works in the modern world and the secrets lurking in the shadows. Claudia is still struggling to figure out what her purpose is in society and in her own family. While she is discovering the secrets of her company, she has her own secrets she keeps from her family, including her current job description and her sexual orientation. She spends most of her time riding her bike throughout the city to investigate clients’ potential lovers but then gets caught up in a murder mystery when one of her clients goes missing.

For a debut novel, Pek does an extraordinary job describing the struggle of early adulthood with Claudia’s character. She is a witty, self-aware, twenty-something individual who must balance work and her family. Not only is she hiding her job from her family, but she also hasn’t come out about being a lesbian despite the fact her mother keeps trying to set her up with men. Claudia feels the pressure of being a model-minority in her immigrant family, so she feels the need to hide her authentic self. Her need to pretend around her family feels all too real that it is almost painful.

Then there is her job. I love a good detective story filled with twists and turns. The idea of threading online-dating with a private investigation company if very new and intriguing for me to read. Her co-workers are written with depth with distinct personalities and even the folks Claudia goes to investigate feel real enough that they could be people you’d meet on the street. Even though the cast in this book is small, it works to show Claudia’s interpersonal relationships with them.

This book makes you think, almost like a detective yourself. I love a protagonist I can agree and disagree with sometimes and in a way it’s a breath of fresh air. It feels like I am along for the ride as we both solve this missing person’s mystery together. Even when Claudia is helping her siblings, especially her sister Coraline, I can pick out the character strengths and flaws between them. Claudia has a sense of loyalty to her family, despite the many secrets she hides from them, but even I have to disagree with some of her inferences at times, but that is what makes the journey fun. 

I enjoyed reading about a character closer to my own age because it helped me understand that not everyone has it together in their early twenties. I am still navigating what I should do once I graduate college. Jane Pek’s novel has taught me how to figure out my own passions and stay truthful to myself. She also wrote me a great detective novel I very much needed.

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