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HELLO KITTY MUST DIE – Book Review

HELLO KITTY MUST DIE
Angela S.Choi
Tyrus Books
April 2010

“Hello Kitty” – term referring to educated, well-mannered Asian-American women…..
Fiona Yu- educated, well mannered Asian-American woman determined to kill her inner “Hello Kitty”.
HELLO KITTY MUST DIE; the best debut novel I’ve read this year. There is a joy about this manically sublime and entirely over the top book that’s hard to describe. The only way I can explain it is to say I now believe I belong to a secret club. This is the book to present the argument , “Good mysteries can be warped and funny”.
As the novel opens Fiona is working on downgrading her “Hello Kitty” status. This requires that she lose her virginity. What follows is perhaps the most commanding first chapter I’ve read in the last decade. Not since Vicki Hendricks found love with a dolphin has anything been as singularly female, shocking and accessible.
Cheated out of the rite of passage to “lose her virginity” , our heroine decides to reclaim the momentous moment with plastic surgery. She meets up with her childhood friend, Sean Killroy and an entirely different world opens up for her… this world is dark. Ken Bruen dark. How far does one go to decide who they will become in the U.S.A.? What price do you pay to become the real you? And if the answer to whom the real you is rather shocking do you embrace your individuality or once more conform to society’s ideal of whom you should be…..
BONUS to the above questions, how high can you make the body count?
In Choi’s first novel, I relived the experience of Tart Noir, remembered Richard Stark, found myself wanting to be in the room when Choi met Bill Fitzhugh and Val McDermid. And here’s the most important thing about HELLO KITTY MUST DIE. I found myself promising never to miss a book or a moment with this author, because the pages flow one into the other with a 1990s’ deconstruction and the Romanticism of the Golden Age. No one else could have written this book and no one else should
try to copy it. That’s some major talent for a new writer.
One of the most refreshing aspects of HKMD is the fact that it is a female world but Choi invites any reader who’s experienced Swierczynski or Huston to the party. So read the book. I’ll give you the password to our club. It’s Angela Choi. Remember the name.
Ruth Jordan

 

 

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