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.|
Source: Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com.
A Beverly Hills golden boy whose glow is fading, Wheeler Cassidy, an aimless, hard-drinking womanizer, is partying toward dissipation. But after his 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 Watts and now assigned to the L.A.P.D. Asian Crimes Task Force. The two make an unlikely pair, but together they face the violence and corruption that stretches from Hong Kong's notorious criminal Triad to the highest reaches of the American government. It's an international conspiracy of huge proportions that will take Wheeler and Tanisha halfway around the world and into the most dangerous adventure of their lives...