Fairly recent — maybe 1990s at the earliest.
I’m 95% sure it’s by Harlan Coben.
The prologue has two middle-aged women from … the Midwest? Pennsylvania? somewhere … visiting New York City. They go to Chinatown to find a deal on handbags, wander into somewhere they’re not supposed to be, and get killed.
Chapter one begins in the suburbs, probably New Jersey. If it is, in fact, by Coben, it’s definitely Jersey. One of his usual, wonderful, twisty turny, seedy underside hiding beneath the pleasant veneer stories ensues. Halfway through the book, you’re still thinking, “What the hell was up with those two women being murdered in Chinatown?” Eventually you find out how the two threads tie together, but not until very near the end.
I love Coben, I’ve read everything he’s written, I just can’t remember which one this is.
Assuming it is by him.