Adrift in Cambodia and eager to side-step a life of quiet desperation as a small-town teacher, 28-year-old Englishman Robert Grieve decides to go missing. As he crosses the border from Thailand, he tests the threshold of a new future.
And on that first night, a small windfall precipitates a chain of events– involving a bag of jinxed money, a suave American, a trunk full of heroin, a hustler taxi driver, and a rich doctor’s daughter– that changes Robert s life forever.
Hunters in the Dark is a sophisticated game of cat and mouse redolent of the nightmares of Patricia Highsmith, where identities are blurred, greed trumps kindness, and karma is ruthless. Filled with Hitchcockian twists and turns, suffused with the steamy heat and pervasive superstition of the Cambodian jungle, and unafraid to confront difficult questions about the machinations of fate, this is a masterful novel that confirms Lawrence Osborne s reputation as one of our finest contemporary writers.
Hunters in the Dark by Lawrence Osborne
Publication Date: October 11, 2016 by Hogarth
He was familiar with death, there was nothing magical or awesome about it. It appeared and it disappeared and in that respect it was very much like life.
I was initially drawn to this book for the comparisons made to Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock. What I love about Highsmith’s novels is that there is always this underlying feeling of tension in what is being left unsaid. The Talented Mr. Ripley comes to mind now that I’ve finished Hunters in the Dark since both deal with characters who make drastic (and often devastating) choices in their pursuit of happiness.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Hunters in the Dark is Osborne’s writing style. There is something almost lyrical in Osborne’s prose that adds to the suspense of the novel. He portrays a Cambodia that is both beautiful and frightening and makes it easy to see how the narrator could become so enthralled with his surroundings, even after having some pretty horrible experiences.
Hunters in the Dark is a great character study and definitely thought-provoking. While it would be easy to write off some of the characters in the novel for their distasteful actions, Osborne presents enough information to make you question your quickness to condemn them. Although the novel’s main focus is on Robert Grieves and the choices he makes to pursue what he thinks will ultimately make him happier, the other people he meets along the way are similarly searching for the same thing. It’s interesting to see how intertwined they all become as the story progresses.
…there is no guilt in the pursuit of happiness, there is just the pursuit. It’s like moving towards the light. One crawls on all fours, if need be.
People who are generally good, caring human beings are willing to do despicable things (including murder) in that pursuit and it is that sense desperation that ultimately makes the book so frightening.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review!