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Book review: 'The Hainan Incident' offers intrigue, adventure

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 18 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

"THE HAINAN INCIDENT," by D.M. Coffman, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 277 pages (f)

“The Hainan Incident” by D.M. Coffman is a tale of intrigue, espionage and a bit of romance with the main action set in Beijing and the island of Hainan in the South China Sea.

Yi Jichun (English name, Jason) is a second-generation Chinese-American. He’s a recent law school graduate working for a U.S. senator in Washington, D.C. He’s an expert in Chinese history and is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese. And he’s a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a returned Mormon missionary who served in Taiwan.

Because of his spotless security background check, he’s chosen for a special assignment to help uncover corruption in the Chinese court system. His cover is to pose as an administrative judge in training at the WTO China Judicial Training Program in Beijing.

Piece by piece, Yi puts together the parts of a puzzle that lead to the discovery of the Hainan Net, a worldwide terrorist network intent on taking over world power. He also falls in love with the land of his ancestors, the people and one special woman.

A few quiet references to the Book of Mormon and LDS beliefs flow naturally from Yi’s character and background.

"The characters are based on composites of many of the people we met there (in China),” Coffman said in a recent interview. “I’ve tried to accurately represent the people and the places there.”

The author writes in a concise, spare style with dialogue that flows authentically. Occasionally she throws in a few Chinese phrases, which are translated in the same sentence, adding a nice flavor to the dialogue. The chapters are short and cinematic in nature, not always in chronological order.

Coffman said she did meticulous research to ensure all the facts add up in relationship to the actual Hainan incident that took place Sunday, April 1, 2001 — down to noting when full moons occurred in China and the weather patterns that affected the story.

“It (the book) involves so much of what I love about China, what confuses me about China and what I hope other cultures might learn from China,” Coffman said.

The author and her husband lived and traveled in China from 2000 to 2004 while teaching with the BYU China Teachers’ Program and the U.S.-sponsored WTO China Judicial Training Program. Click here to watch an author interview.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year old house on Main Street in Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia content. Her website is at www.dramaticdimensions.com.

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