Riding the Snake

3.7 avg rating
( 352 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780140277081: Riding the Snake

Sweeping from the exclusive golf clubs of Brentwood to the depths of Hong Kong's mysterious walled city, Riding the Snake is a thriller torn straight from the headlines. It's set in a deadly Asian underworld where terrorism, international influence peddling, and illegal immigration converge into a single sinister web with a heartless Chinese crime lord at its center.

To prankster/L.A. playboy Wheeler Cassidy, things look a little bleak. His trust land is dwindling, his good looks are dissolving into the daiquiris, and his life has no direction -- until his golden-boy younger brother, a prominent lawyer and political power broker; is found mysteriously dead. Wheeler joins forces with the beautiful Tanisha Williams, an L.A. cop from South Central who's been parked on the Asian Crimes Task Force while Internal Affairs investigates her career. Together they embark on a dangerous quest for the truth -- against deadly odds.

Tentatively at first, then with growing confidence and passion, the two follow their leads into a labyrinth of violent intrigue and a multibillion-dollar Chinese criminal conspiracy that teaches to the top of the U.S. government. Soon they find themselves up against the most ruthless Triad leader, the Washington Establishment, and violent L.A. gangsters. As Riding the Snake races to a riveting climax in the sewers beneath Los Angeles International Airport, you can almost hear it ominously ticking down -- like the suitcase nuke that's set to incinerate a big chunk of Southern California.

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Review:

Stephen Cannell's extensive experience as a television writer (he's most famous for creating and scripting The Rockford Files) is readily apparent in Riding the Snake. He's done his homework, so his movement among the worlds of the aging playboy Wheeler Cassidy, the Hong Kong Triad, and the Asian Crimes Task Force of the LAPD is natural and well executed. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Cannell's book, though, is his depiction of Tanisha Williams, a young and gifted African American detective on the LAPD. Tanisha is assigned to Asian Crimes to get her out of the way--she's refused the advances of her superior, and now she's been put under investigation. She eventually crosses paths with Cassidy who is jolted from his wastrel life of alcoholic binges and womanizing by the mysterious disappearance of his brother and the gruesome murder of his brother's secretary. Cassidy and Williams join together to investigate what appears to be a massive infiltration of the U.S. government by powerful leaders of Chinese organized crime; along the way they develop an unlikely romance. The novel blurs reality with fiction, talking about President Clinton's attempts to normalize relations with China and making connections between real campaign scandals and Cannell's fictional Chinese mobsters. While the metaphors are occasionally strained, Cannell is an old-style craftsman who knows how to tell a good story and keep his reader fully engaged until the final pages. --Patrick O'Kelley

From the Inside Flap:

Wheeler Cassidy, charming prankster and scion of a wealthy Beverly Hills family, has never done much with his life except play golf, drink, and seduce other men's wives.  But after his politically connected brother's mysterious death, Wheeler embarks on a perilous journey to find himself and the Chinese gangsters who murdered the only member of his family he ever really loved.  Along the way, he teams up with Tanisha Williams, a beautiful African-American detective raised in South Central and now assigned to the L.A.P.D.  Asian Crime Task Force.  Born just fifteen minutes from each other but worlds apart, the two make a combustible pair.  

Together, they face the violence and corruption that stretches from Hong Kong's most notorious criminal Triad to the highest reaches of American government.  It's an international conspiracy of huge proportions which will take Wheeler and Tanisha halfway around the world and into the most dangerous adventure of their lives...  

Sweeping from the exclusive enclaves of Beverly Hills to the mean streets of South Central to the deadly labyrinth of Hong Kong's mysterious walled city, Riding the Snake is an irresistible web of intrigue and roller-coaster action, with author Stephen J.  Cannell at his twisty, cinematic best.

Boyd Gaines, a graduate of the Julliard School, made his Broadway debut in The Heidi Chronicles, for which he won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.  He went on to star in She Loves Me, winning Best Actor in a Musical, and performed in many other New York theater productions including The Shawl, Spring Awakenings and The Show Off.  Boyd has also appeared in many feature films and on television in such shows as One Day at a Time, L.A. Law and Frasier.

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Stephen J. Cannell
Published by Penguin (2000)
ISBN 10: 0140277080 ISBN 13: 9780140277081
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
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Book Description Penguin, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140277080

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