In Taipei, Taiwan, the kidnapping of a Mainlander billionaire throws national media into a tizzy—not least because of the famous victim’s vitriolic anti-immigration politics.
Jing-nan has known Peggy Lee, a bullying frenemy who runs her family’s huge corporation, since high school. Peggy’s father has been kidnapped, and the ransom the kidnappers are demanding is not money but IP: a high-tech memory chip that they want to sell in China.
Jing-nan feels sorry for Peggy until she starts blackmailing him into helping out. Peggy is worried the kidnappers’ deadline will pass before the police are able to track down the chip. But when the reluctant Jingnan tries to help, he finds himself deeper and deeper in trouble with some very unsavory characters—the most unsavory of whom might be the victim himself.
At the start of Lin's stellar third Taipei Night Market novel (after 2016's Incensed), Jing-nan Chen, who "makes the best skewers and stews in the Shilin Night Market," receives a distress call from high school classmate Peggy Lee. Peggy's wealthy businessman father, Tommy Lee Tong-ming, "who controlled some of the most powerful tax-dodging entities in Taiwan" and is also Jing-nan's landlord in the market, has been brazenly kidnapped at a banquet. Since a police escort was present, the Taipei PD is desperate to keep their embarrassing security lapse private. Peggy asks Jing-nan to get involved after the kidnappers demand the design for a "power-efficient mobile chip" that they insist is in her father's files, despite her ignorance of its existence. Jing-nan reluctantly agrees to reach out to a relative with underworld connections as well as to his girlfriend's former lover, a tech executive imprisoned for bribery who might know the design's location. Jing-nan has three days to come up with results before the kidnappers' deadline expires. Lin effortlessly blends humor, plausible plot twists, and the politics and economics of contemporary Taiwan.