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Mystery fans who have read Sanchez's two earlier novels will find the same quick-moving crime story here in Little Mountain, but the author has accomplished something unique with this book. It isn't a caper. It's a serious work with a social message. Sanchez has brought the horror, the terror, the murderous perversions that plagued Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and made those evil forces "characters" in Litle Mountain.
The protagonist, Sambeth Long, was no more than a teenager when the Angka, the organization of killers within the Khmer Rouge, wiped out his entire family. Sam left Cambodia, found freedom in the USA, and worked hard to become a police detective in Lowell, Massachusetts, and in the midst of a murder investigation, he begins to uncover evidence that members of Angka are present in Lowell.
Sanchez's characters are well-drawn, especially Sam, notably as he describes the tension between the ambitious and dedicated refuge and Sam's wife's New England family. Sanchez also portrays well the changes that have come to cities like Lowell as they cope with one more wave of immigrants.
There is little gratuitous gore, but the bad guys are dealt with satisfactorily, and readers who like to see justice served when reading crime and mystery novels will especially appreciate the conclusion of Little Mountain when Sam understands and makes the right choice.