From The Rejectionist:

Possibly it is not a total secret that the Rejectionist has, like, a soft spot for the tough-but-fucked-up lady-heroine! IT IS DEFINITELY NOT BECAUSE WE SEE ELEMENTS OF OURSELF IN THESE FICTIVE REPRESENTATIONS NO IT IS NOT THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Oh, SHUT UP. Anyway! Also very dear to us is the thriller-as-a-vehicle-for-insightful-social-commentary! So you can IMAGINE how much we like insightful thrillers starring tough but fucked-up lady characters! A LOT. That’s how much we like them. And GUESS WHAT? They’re kind of hard to find (the operative adjective being “insightful,” folks)! All of which is to say, we tore through the fantabulous Rock Paper Tiger with RECKLESS ABANDON AND DELIGHT…seamlessly interweaving intelligent, provocative, and beautifully handled commentary on capitalism, consumer culture, and the Gulf War, in a Beijing so vividly realized the Rejectionist could practically TASTE THE DUMPLINGS EVERY TIME ELLIE ATE THEM. In all seriousness, however, it is a great relief to read an expat-thriller novel where the setting is never exoticized; China is so real and alive here, as are Ellie’s scrappy artist friends and Beijing’s underground art world. Ellie herself is never less than entirely lovable; a complex, messed-up protagonist whose saving grace is her ruthless honesty. There is so much to love about this thoughtful and original debut, and we cannot wait to see what Lisa Brackmann comes up with next. Don’t tell our mom how badly this book made us want to sell all of our possessions, buy a one-way plane ticket to China, and disappear for the next decade.

From The Seattle Times:

In “Rock Paper Tiger” (Soho, 345 pp., $25) — a remarkable debut by Lisa Brackmann — Ellie, a wounded medic and Iraq War vet, is scraping by in a low-rent corner of Beijing. Her friends, scrappy artists with dissident connections, attract the attention of Chinese and American authorities, forcing blunt-speaking Ellie and others into hiding.

The group communicates by playing a virtual-fantasy game, and their online quests mirror real-life predicaments. Although a subplot involving Ellie’s estranged husband is distracting, Brackmann paints a mesmerizing picture of life in jittery modern Beijing.

From The South China Morning Post:

Readers will relish this fresh portrayal of urban youth culture in China, both the grit and the glory.

Ellie Cooper -former National Guard and hard-nosed heroine -is hanging around in Beijing, recovering from a broken marriage and traumatic service in Iraq. She joins the down-and-out expats flooding into Asia’s newest party town in search of booze, quick money, and easy sex. This is China for the lost generation, and Lisa Brackmann’s masterful debut novel delves into the murky world of the netizens, dissidents and artists who form the fringes of society.