Cover Image: Fatal Fried Rice

Fatal Fried Rice

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Another solid offering from Vivan Chien!  This is a very charming series featuring a chinese restaurant and a plucky heroine.  As always I enjoy these stories. Solid 3 stars!
Was this review helpful?
Vivien Chien's Noodle Shop Mystery series is hands down one of my very faves! And this installment, book seven, more than delivers! This one was super cute because Lana has decided she wants to learn how to cook Chinese food--yes that's right, despite her family owning Ho-Lee Noodle House, and Lana herself managing it, she can't cook more than a bowl of rice! But she's too embarrassed to ask for help from her family or the restaurant's chef (and her friend) Peter, so she signs up for a cooking course. But naturally, because she's Lana, she gets caught up in another murder mystery when she finds the instructor dead after the first class. When she becomes a suspect, she launches her own investigation to clear her name and find the culprit.

I can't get enough of Lana, Megan, Adam, Peter, Kimmy, and the whole Lee clan (I always get a good chuckle at the bickering and rivalry between Lana and her sister!). Such a strong cast of characters and a wonderful sense of place. I can totally picture the Mahjong Mavens having their morning tea and breakfast, and the delicious dishes Peter whips up. Lana is a great main character - young but smart and with a huge heart, despite her grumbles about her family. And her relationship with her grandmother is so sweet! I also love the annoying but entertaining Kimmy and her antics! Highly recommend this series and this latest installment!
Was this review helpful?
My favorite book in the series so far. Lana decides to take cooking classes, despite managing her family’s Chinese restaurant, and someone winds up dead by the end of class. I enjoyed seeing more of Kimmy in this story and hope she becomes a more prominent character going forward.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book.  However, I felt that I would have understood the back stories if I had read at least some of the previous books.  It took me awhile to get into it.  That is no reflection on the author or the writing.  

The story and characters were fun -- Lana was interesting and I loved following her quest to find the killer.  The story whet my appetite (literally and figuratively) for more!  Now that I've found this author, I'm planning to read more from her!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Lana is one of those characters that you either love or hate; there is no in-between. In the newest installment, Fatal Fried Rice, fans will love Lana and hate her at the same time. Managing a Chinese restaurant isn’t precisely non-stop action, and Lana can’t cook, so she is determined to learn and put a bit more life into her day-to-day work. Once again, she finds a body, and once again, she sticks her nose in a murder investigation even though she shouldn’t. Yes, she found the body, but there is no evidence suggesting that she even knew the victim previously, so why would anyone think she killed her cooking teacher? There are plenty of suspects for readers to question, and the evidence is easy to follow. Even without, or despite Lana’s interference, the killer will be caught.

Unfortunately, this addition to the series isn’t a strong entry. The characters are okay, but none are very likable. The restaurant and the plaza, which have been the main focus in previous books, play a minimal role in this one; this actually hurts the story rather than helps it. Having Lana not be able to make something as simple as fried rice is not believable. Her family’s Chinese restaurant has been around a long time; wouldn’t someone have taught her how to make this staple dish by now?

The killer is not hidden, I knew who it was the moment the character was introduced. The resolution of the case is brought about almost by accident and happenstance and isn’t very satisfying. Some subplots were interesting and could have been explored at greater length to give the story more substance. Some of the supporting characters are becoming tiresome and detract from the main story. Overall, I have enjoyed other books in this series far more than this one. Fatal Fried Rice has some interesting scenes but isn’t anything to get overly excited about. I love Chinese food, and the setting of this series has always been intriguing and mouth-watering, but this book misses the mark. I recommend that readers who are new to this series start with the first book and not delve into this latest one until they know a bit of the character’s background and the main premise.
Was this review helpful?
Ok!  I am so hooked on this series and I am coming to the party late!  First, big thanks for allowing me the opportunity to read this one!  LOVED it!  Vivian did such a fantastic job keeping me hooked, interested and I can’t wait to run to the store and pick up the entire series, those that I’ve missed.  AND, I can’t wait for the next chapter in this amazing series!  OMG!  Loved it!  Cozy, well written, fast paced, great characters and a believable mystery.  

Was this review helpful?
I’m fairly certain I could have a mukbang channel when it comes to consuming Chinese food. I am also a lover of the cozy mystery. Fatal Fried Rice features the murder of a community school teacher who is instructing an intro to Chinese food cooking class that our leading lady Lana (who just so happens to run the family restaurant with absolutely zero culinary skills) has signed up for in order to at least be capable of doing more than just making rice.

This is a series that I have zero complaints about. I love the MC Lana, I love her gambling/buffet addict mom and grandma, I love that her boyfriend is just a bit player (despite him being an actual detective while Lana is the one doing all the sleuthing), I really love over-the-top Kimmy. Most of all I love that they only take a couple of hours to read and you can easily skip books 2-6 and pick up feeling like you didn’t miss a beat since they work so well as standalones. I am 99.9999% sure I have #5 on the Kindle as well, but fried rice was calling my name and I must appease the gods . . . .

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!
Was this review helpful?
Lana Lee has a talent for running her family’s restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House. She’s a great manager, but knows nothing about preparing the Chinese dishes they serve to their customers. To escape her family’s teasing, Lana enrolls in a cooking class in a nearby town to learn to cook Chinese food. The first class gets off to a good start, but Lana forgets the materials she will need for the next class and returns to the classroom after it has ended. She is shocked to discover the body of Margo Han, the instructor, who has been fatally stabbed. The detective assigned to the case declares Lana to be his prime suspect in the murder so it’s up to Lana and her friends to find out who really killed Margo.

Fatal Fried Rice is the seventh book in this series, but new readers can enjoy it as much as those who have read the prior books. There is a detailed description of all the shops in Asia Village where the Lee family’s restaurant is located that really helped me picture the area and provides a nice tutorial for new readers. Lana’s boyfriend is a police detective and warns her to let the police and her lawyer handle things. However, Lana feels her best chance of keeping her freedom and getting justice for Margo is to investigate things herself. When her roommate Megan is working and can’t assist, Lana enlists her friend Kimmy Tran to help gather clues. In the past, Kimmy has been a hard character to take to, but in this outing her outspoken ways of handling things are refreshing and humorous. Their scenes in a different cooking class they take together are hilarious, while also moving the investigation forward.

The case takes several turns with more than a few believable suspects before a dramatic conclusion involving both Lana and Kimmy uncovers the killer. I wish Lana wouldn’t take so many risks during her sleuthing, but she is an appealing main character. She doesn’t always make the best decisions, but always has the best interest of her friends and family in all she does. This is a fun, quick cozy read that fans of the series and new readers will enjoy.

~ Christine
Was this review helpful?
Watch out Cleveland, Ohio Lana Lee has decided to learn how to cook! Rather than ask those close to her she has decided to attend a cooking class at a local community college. What Lana didn't expect was to find the chef/teacher dead. Can Lana solve the murder before becoming fried herself?

Lana is still a joy to read. She can find herself in trouble no matter what she is doing. One would think learning how to cook Chinese would be safe but oh no it is not. This time Lana finds herself as a top suspect and Detective Hottie aka boyfriend Adam is not able to help her.

I did figure out the murderer pretty quick but that did not dampen my appetite for the book. It was an enjoyable read and I loved seeing if my suspicions were correct.

I believe book 8 is already in the works. YAY!

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, St. Martin's Press, through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Was this review helpful?
Fatal Fried Rice is another winner in the series and I honestly cannot get enough of them! Vivien Chien is one of my favorite cozy authors and reading her books is like reconnecting with a best friend! If you enjoy diverse reads in the cozy genre then this is a series you need to have!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Lana Lee manages her family restaurant, but she's never been much of a chef, so signing up for an Asian cooking class at a local college seems the way to go. When the instructor turns up dead after the first class, Lana begins to investigate the murder, while trying to keep from her family both her role in the discovery of the body and that she was taking the class in the first place. There's also a one-note lousy detective at the head of the police investigation, who sees Lana as one of his prime suspects as she keeps appearing at all the wrong places for someone uninvolved in the murder...he definitely kills the "cozy" of this particular cozy mystery. Her cop boyfriend doesn't play a big role, neither does her roommate/bartender/best friend Megan, and her friend Kimmy comes across as more pushy and annoying than helpful.  I must admit this wasn't my favorite entry in the series. I'm not sure if it's because most of Lana's investigative choices were more frustrating than clever (perhaps a sign of a weaker plot?), or maybe I just prefer the books to take place in Asia Village. I do enjoy the books in this series, so I'll keep reading.
Was this review helpful?
4.75 stars

This is the seventh book in the Noodle Shop mystery series (I kinda think Asia Village mystery series has a good ring to it.) by Vivien Chien.

This book really grabs you. I think this series is just growing on me. I am truly digging Lana Lee and her exploits now that I have a few of her books under my belt. This one features Lana wanting to learn how to cook Chinese food now that she is in charge of the Noodle Shop. She could ask her head chef to help her but she doesn’t want her family to know she is trying to up her cooking game.

Of course, right after Lana asked the cooking instructor to give her private lessons, the lady ends up dead. What a bummer on so many levels.

This mystery was fun to follow and I just get a kick out of Lana and her friends. Too bad the mahjong ladies weren’t more involved in this. They are quite a hoot. I think her best friend, Kimmie who is her sidekick in this book kinda took the comic relief spot this time. This community is so inviting that you just want to squeeze in and find your seat.

Loved it a lot.

I highly recommend this series.

If you like cozy mysteries, definitely check this one out. You won’t be disappointed.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
Was this review helpful?
Lana Lee’s family owns a Chinese restaurant and Lana even runs it but, she doesn’t know how to cook any Chinese cuisine.  So, in secret she signs up at the local Continuation Education program for some lessons.  Of course, she finds murder instead of the secret to Asian Cuisine.

The characters are fun and diverse, like real life.   I enjoy snark, and this book has some characters who can deal it out, but I just don’t think that is a smart idea when you are facing someone holding a weapon.  Call me funny that way.  

A decent mystery with good characters.   All the ingredients for a winning cozy.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Fatal Fried Rice by Vivien Chien is the 7th book in A Noodle Shop Mystery series, and another exciting adventure. Lana Lee is the manager of her family's restaurant, Ho-Lee Noodle House located in  Cleveland, Ohio. Lana decides to take Chinese cooking lessons from the cooking school.  Lana is known for her terrible Chinese cooking, so she wants to prove her family wrong.  When Lana finds the instructor dead, in a different town than Lana's boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau works in, she quickly becomes the prime suspect.  I found this book to be a quick read, with a well developed plot and characters.  I love Lana's relationship with Adam, and her quirky family.  Looking forward to the next book in the series. If you love fun cozy mysteries like I do, than I highly recommend this book/ and series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Was this review helpful?
I first discovered this series because I was hungry. I was on my lunch break scrolling through Netgalley and saw the first book and was like lured in by the noodle ox on the cover and I have never been so glad to be hungry in all my life! I found such a fun series because I was hungry!

This has been such a fun little series to read and I am so happy to see that we are on the seventh book in the series! I am so happy people have loved it as much as I have. Lana Lee is a great amateur detective who has funky hair, a love for donuts, and doesn’t shy away from a murder or two. She sounds like someone I would totally hang out with which is one of the reasons I have enjoyed this series so much.

These are quick reads that I almost always finish within a day or two. They make for great beach reads or a great pick you grab at the airport between flights. I always feel satisfied after reading one of these books, not to mention hungry for Chinese food!

Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio in Vivien Chien’s Fatal Fried Rice…

Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly―and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.

Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school―and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks. (summary from Goodreads)

In this book, Lana is taking a Chinese cooking class. Wait what?! Yes that’s exactly what I said to myself. I had to think back and try to recall if Lana had actually cooked in the restaurant before rather than just managing it. I feel like maybe she has but I honestly can’t recall. Though I do vaguely recall her saying to people that she’s not really a cook, but I could be wrong. I wish this were something I could recall because I spent half the book trying to remember if she was a bad cook or not. I wish it had been clearly brought up in other books, like ‘Lana is a terrible cook’, same as her funky hair and donut obsession were talked about. But whatever, it wasn’t a huge deal and I loved the irony of Lana managing her parents restaurant but having zero idea how to cook.

In my opinions this book could read as a standalone, as can most of the other Lana books, so if you are wondering if you can dive in here I think the answer is easily yes. The author does a great job explaining the background of the characters and Asian Village for new readers and old readers who might need a refresher. The author also lives in Cleveland and really brings the Asian Village to life. It feels like a fun place to visit and the characters and setting feel so authentic. It’s one of the things that is consistently strong in this series.

For me, this mystery and plot was just ok. Probably not the strongest in the series but still a worthy read. If this is your first Lana book, you will enjoy it but if you are a long time Lana fan you will know that some of the mysteries are better than the others and for me I enjoyed some of the others better. In this one, Lana is the prime suspect in the murder of her cooking class teacher and that was kind of a new twist from some of the previous books which really made this one stand out a bit more.

In the end though, this book met all my expectations—-great food, fun/familiar characters (Majong Matrons I am looking at you!), a cozy little mystery and a solid story. I always finish a new Lana book feeling content and looking forward to future books in the series! I can’t wait to read the next one in this series to see what Lana gets up to next!

Book Info and Rating
Format320 pages Mass Market Paperback

PublishedMarch 9, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN9781250782595 (ISBN10: 1250782597)

Free review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: cozy mystery, mystery, detective novel
Was this review helpful?
Fatal Fried Rice is the seventh of Vivian Chien's Noodle House mystery series. I have not read the earlier books but quickly fell in love with the main characters. They were very well developed likable characters who have obviously been developed as the book progresses. While I found the plot a bit week in places it was such an enjoyable read I feel I can definitely recommend it as a light enjoyable read. A great book to relax with.
Was this review helpful?
Dollycas’s Thoughts

I know it’s hard to believe but Lana Lee, manager of her family’s Ho-Lee Noodle Shop can’t cook much of anything, not even the Chinese food she eats and sells on a daily basis. Now she wants to change that and surprise her friends and family. She has signed up for a night class in Chinese cooking at the local community college. The first class went okay, the instructor demonstrated fried rice. In the next class, the students will get to make the recipe themselves. Lana is on her way home when she realizes she forgot to pick up the ingredient list for the upcoming class so she quickly turns around hoping to get back to the classroom before the instructor leaves. Well, the instructor is still there but she won’t be teaching any more classes. Someone has killed her and Lana being the one to find her ends up in ho water as a prime suspect.

Lana has helped solve cases before but they were in her boyfriend Detective Adm Trudeau’s jurisdiction. The detective on the case sure doesn’t want her help especially because he believes Lana is guilty. So having no choice she must investigate to clear her name. It’s no easy task but she can’t give up. Even when the killer may turn the tables on Lana. Will she be able to survive or will she be fatally fried.


I can’t believe we are already 7 books into this series. Each time I open a book it is like catching up with old friends. All the characters are wonderful. Lana continues to grow. I enjoyed that she used a little restraint when she found the body but after that, she makes some risky choices including taking Kimmy Tran with her to snoop when her best friend and roommate Megan wasn’t available but it sure made for some funny moments. I do really like the closeness of the Lee family and their traditions like their Sunday dim sum dinners.

The mystery this time was a definite change because Adam wasn’t involved and Lana knew nothing about the victim. She was able to draw some information from her usual sources but she put on a lot of miles trying to track down clues. I hate lazy detectives and the one in charge of the murder was definitely lazy trying to make his case fit what had already decided. Ms. Chien plotted out a  story that kept the protagonist on her toes and this reader guessing right up until the exciting reveal.

The author does a great job of setting every scene whether it be the noodle shop, Megan and Lana’s apartment, the bar where Megan works, or the community college. It is so easy to visualize every place Lana goes. The little subplot of Lana updating the decor of the restaurant is so funny. Her mother tells her to do whatever she wants but then pans all her ideas.

I totally enjoyed this story. Well-plotted and written with engaging characters. Fatal Fried Rice checks all my cozy boxes. I am so excited for book 8, Hot and Sour Suspects.
Was this review helpful?
Fatal Fried Rice by Vivian Chien is the newest entry in a popular series of cozy mysteries, Noodle Shop Mysteries, featuring noodle shop manager, Lana Lee. Lana is in the uncomfortable position of not knowing how to cook Chinese food and so enrolls in a class at a community center in a nearby town. She enjoys the class thoroughly and after the class arranges with the instructor to also give her some private sessions. She leaves, happy with her evening when she realizes she did not get the grocery list for the next class, so returns. Sadly, she returns to fine, Margo, the instructor, lying dead on the floor, having been stabbed. She does the only thing available to her and screams, bringing the only other person in the building: the janitor. The police arrive and a very unpleasant detective makes her feel as if she is the prime suspect.

This was a fun mystery with a good premise for its base of operations and a decent supporting cast. Lana's boyfriend, Adam, is a police detective, in their town and seems to roll his eyes a lot at Lana, a typical cozy mystery move, but is otherwise supportive. One of her friends, Kimmie, provides the comic relief and does it well. He mother and non-English-speaking grandmother also help in that regard. The mystery was a good one with enough misdirection to keep it interesting. Reading it was a totally pleasant experience, which I hope to repeat in the future. I recommend it.

I was invited to read a free ARC of Fatal Fried Rice by Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #netgalley #fatalfriedrice
Was this review helpful?
Fatal Fried Rice is the SEVENTH book in Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mystery Series.

This is my favorite cozy mystery series because it is fresh, youthful, and so much fun. These mysteries are also an own voices series, which makes them an especially wonderful bright spot in a genre that is often lacking in diversity.

In Fatal Fried Rice, our favorite amateur sleuth Lana Lee has a secret - even though she’s successfully run her family’s Chinese restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House, for years… she still can’t cook at all! So, she decides to secretly take a Chinese cooking class at the local community college, in hopes of surprising her loved ones with some new-found culinary talents.

But Lana’s new hobby quickly turns deadly when she finds her teacher murdered after their first cooking class! Lana immediately becomes the prime suspect and it’s a race against time to find the real killer... before Lana is blamed for a murder she didn’t commit.

Chien’s writing always feels so endearing and genuine, and while she does stick to the traditional cozy formula, I tend to think her stories have more depth and heart than many others that I’ve read in the genre. I love her characters, with their unique personalities, backstories, and even motives! And Lana’s world is always one that I look forward to revisiting, time and time again.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again - the only downside to this series is how hungry it makes me! Definitely have some fried rice on standby before diving into this book! Personally, I can’t wait for Dim Sum Sundays IRL again once its safe to do so… but for now, I’m more than glad to live vicariously through Lana’s delicious food adventures.

If you love cozy mysteries but haven’t had a chance to check out the Noodle Shop Mystery series, there’s no better time than now. These books truly are the perfect feel-good read, and I already can’t wait for Chien’s next book - Hot and Sour Suspects!
Was this review helpful?
Fatal Fried Rice is the 7th book in Vivien Chien's Noodle Shop Mystery series. We meet up again with the ever investigating Lana Lee, our heroine and manager of her family's restaurant Ho-Lee Noodle House. In this book, Lana secretly enrolls in a Chinese cooking class at her local college since she is ashamed of her lack of ability to cook any basic cuisine. The instructor is murdered after the first class, found by Lana making her one of the prime suspects! Lana and her normal cast of friends (Megan, Kimmy, Peter, and detective boyfriend Adam all return) band together to solve this mystery. 

What I love most about Chien's series are the comedic elements between Lana and her friends and family. Lana is relatable main character. I absolutely adore this series!
Was this review helpful?