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Advance Praise




“Vu Tran’s Dragonfish is that rare hybrid marvel?a literary thriller, a narrative of migration and loss that upends the conventions of any form.”

– Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names


“Vu Tran’s spellbinding debut novel had me turning pages late into the night. I was drawn in partly by the book’s utterly engrossing plot, partly by its vivid portrayal of a pitiless and dangerous Las Vegas, but mostly by its lovingly interwoven themes of loss, longing, renewal, and cultural memory.”

                         – Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried


“Is this an immigrant saga disguised as a crime novel? Or a smart thriller that just happens to be set in the Vietnamese immigrant community in Las Vegas?  The answer is: it’s both, and it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that Vu Tran has written  a debut novel of uncommon artistry, about a group of Vietnamese Americans and the history of love, violence, and sacrifice that binds them together and tears them apart.”

– Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children & The Leftovers


“A haunting, beautifully written novel, almost more ghost story than thriller, as Tran explores the world of refugees, immigrants, and the long hold the past and its dead hold on the present.”

– Sara Paretsky, author of the V. I. Warshawski novels


“On the pure joyous level of great storytelling, Dragonfish is a top notch mystery; but it also deals with so goddamn much: the ramifications of war and the perils of assimilation, the impossibility of straddling two cultures and belonging to none, the limitations of the past, grief, lost lovers, gambling, ghosts, and Vegas, baby, Vegas. Note-perfect. Heartbreaking. Profound. Dragonfish is a polished dagger of a novel that will cut out your heart.”

Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children


Dragonfish is a novel about identity, exile and the chains of memory wrapped in the muscle of a thriller. The suspense kept me turning the pages, but the beautiful writing and aching sense of loss remained with me long after I reached the end.”

– Lisa Brackmann, author of Dragon Day


“Sometimes it’s creepy, like a really fine noir novel. Other times it’s heartbreaking, as when it dives deep into the anguish of Vietnamese refugees. But either way, Dragonfish is absolutely gripping. Vu Tran has written a terrific — and deceptively weird — novel that manages to make Vietnam and Las Vegas feel like old, familiar friends. Don’t call him a writer to watch. Call him a writer to read.”

– Tom Bissell, author of The Father of All Things




“Vu Tran has orchestrated a mesmerizing tale with broken characters each surrendering their own piece of history to the story… I fully enjoyed the juxtaposition of the seedy Las Vegas backdrop, the hard-scrabble life for Vietnamese refugees, and a mother’s desire to provide for her child no matter the cost. A great literary noir read with unexpected plot twists and a refreshing dose of humanity.”

– Jamie Fiocco,

Flyleaf Bookstore (Chapel Hill, NC)


Dragonfish is a wonderful read. It combines the plot-driven thrills of a suspenseful novel with an ingenious and meaningful poetic voice. The story illuminates themes of love, loss, identity, and loneliness as the human condition and leaves the reader with much to ponder. A deceptively beautiful book.”

                                                                                          – Ed Conklin,

Chaucer’s Books (San Diego, CA)


“Tran is an arresting writer who plays knowingly and effectively with the conventions of the mystery genre. Dragonfish is an exceptional book that points to a brilliant future for Vu Tran. I could not help but remember that Norton published Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990. I felt then that Mosley had a tremendous amount of potential. I have similar views of Vu Tran’s future.”

                                                                                         – Paul Yamazaki,

City Lights (San Francisco, CA)


“Quietly gripping, with an increasing sense of mystery and menace, what starts as a quest turns into an exploration of ways that individuals are forever marked by how and whom they love.”

                                                                                          – Sheryl Cotleur,

Copperfield’s (Petaluma, CA)


“Vu Tran has written one hell of a debut in Dragonfish. I loved it. Smart, brutal, and intense with the pacing of a classic noir, yet it also manages to reveal human truths and insights into the heart with unexpected flashes of tenderness. Tran writes on a tightrope employing flashbacks and alternate storylines but more than pulls it off. I don’t know of anyone else who could capture both Vietnam and Las Vegas in such detail. In the end, none of the characters really come out winners, but the reader sure does.”

– Cody Morrison,

Square Books (Oxford, MS)


“Highly original….  Tran’s storytelling is superb and Dragonfish is an excellent debut.”

– Sherri Gallentine,

Vroman’s Bookstore & Book Soup (Pasadena, Los Angeles CA)