* 2020 MirrorFiction Million Dollar Award winner
* Television adaptation directed by the author is in production
A young Indigenous Taiwanese escapes the hard life of his fishing port hometown by becoming a public defense lawyer, but when an immigrant fisherman kills a boat captain from his tribe, he is forced to reevaluate his vision of justice.
In 1950s Taiwan, large numbers of Amei tribesmen from the east coast moved north to work on fishing boats based in the port of Bachimen. Raised in these environs, Tung Pao-Chu watched his elders struggling to make ends meet as fishermen and decided he would pursue a different path. Through hard work he managed to leave Bachimen and fulfill his dream of becoming a public defense lawyer, defending accused criminals for a modest government salary.
Now, just as he is preparing to leave the public defender’s office to pursue more lucrative work, Tung Pao-Chu is assigned a difficult case involving the murder of an Amei boat captain and his entire family. The suspect is an illegal immigrant from Indonesia who worked on the victim’s boat. The brutality of the murders, combined with associated racial tensions, has thrust the case into the spotlight. Already in the difficult position of defending a man suspected of murdering his own tribesmen, Tung Pao-Chu begins to doubt whether the case is as simple as it seems. What was the motive for the murders? And what transpired on the fishing boat during its final voyage?
Through the lens of an apparently straightforward murder case, Port of Lies exposes the complexity of race relations in contemporary Taiwan. The novel addresses a broad range of issues from the death penalty, to conflicting profit motives in the fishing industry, to racial identity and affirmative action, to the rights of immigrant workers. From these intersecting threads author and lawyer Freddy Fu-Jui Tang weaves a fast-paced courtroom thriller destined to please crime and mystery fans with a taste for social realism.