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From its start in 1937, as the Japanese overrun the Chinese port of Nanking and massacre hundreds of thousands, to its narrative core in 1990, as a disturbed young British woman who calls herself Grey searches for the hidden truths that made her the mentally fragile person she is, Hayder's third book (after 2002's The Treatment) is a thriller of rare art and gripping excitement. Hayder, one of the rising stars of British crime fiction, teaches at a university in Bath and has worked as a hostess in a Tokyo nightclub. Both experiences add to her book's unusually rich atmosphere. Grey, who lives on the fringes of the academic world, tries to find out in Tokyo whether a piece of 16mm film taken during the Nanking atrocities actually exists--and whether it will ease her pain. When an elderly Chinese professor, a survivor of Nanking, at first refuses to help her, she drifts into a well-paying job as a night club hostess. (Russian twin sisters Irina and Svetlana teach her the tricks of the trade. "You gotta look sophisticated," Svetlana tells her earnestly. "You wanna wear my belt, eh? My belt is gold. Black and gold nice!") Eventually, the story becomes a beautifully paced, three-way duel among an aged Japanese gangster who wants to live forever; the Chinese professor, with secrets too horrible to hide any longer; and Grey, a courageous young woman unlike any other heroine you're likely to find in a thriller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Seeking confirmation of an atrocity committed by Japanese soldiers during the 1937 invasion of Nanking, troubled young Englishwoman Grey Hutchins tracks down a Chinese survivor who might have film of the massacre. But when she finds Shi Chongming teaching at a Tokyo university, he offers no help--until Grey takes a job at a hostess club frequented by an old Yakuza don. Chongming, it turns out, needs access to the strange medicine the mobster takes to stave off death. If Grey can deliver the information he needs, Chongming promises, he will show her his secret film. Although the narrative--split between the professor's haunting 1937 diary and Grey's contemporary Tokyo journal--takes a while to pick up steam, it ends up delivering a potent punch. Hayder fancies she is withholding more plot twists than she actually does, but Grey and Chongming's affecting stories of weakness and loss redeemed by their obsessive quests for truth and justice make up for a twinned mystery that's not too difficult to dope out. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A terrible book. I gave up and abandoned it after 150 pages of its 400+ pages.
Most disappointed because I have read many good things about Mo Hayder and she was... Read more
Mo Hayder is an excellent writer. Her ability in writing to keep you captivated with images and a variety of emotions is remarkable. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2006 by MOSSY
It's very rare that I read a book which stirs up emotions such as anger, sadness, contempt, and curiosity, all at once. Read morePublished on Oct. 29 2005