Lawrence Osborne’s new novel has much in common with its predecessor, The Ballad Of A Small Player, as a tale of ghosts and gamblers adrift on the edges of South East Asia.
Hunters In The Dark
Hogarth, €19.50; ebook, €10.99
Both are the stories of characters trying to live out the romantic dream of Englishmen abroad in the face of modern distractions and sometimes more ancient fears.
In this one, a big win in a small casino sets its hero on his way through Cambodia and into the path of ruthless ex-pats, corrupt police officers and burned-out survivors of that country’s dreadful past.
The poetic descriptions of Cambodian countryside and cities caught between stifling heat and torrential downpours and the ideal England left behind make for an atmospheric read.
The languid plot and Osborne’s relaxed style make this too laid-back to qualify as a thriller, but there’s enough tension as his characters stumble towards their uncertain fates to keep the pages turning.
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