Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Devil of Nanking – Book #10

| Title |The Devil of Nanking |
| Author |Mo Hayder |
| Genre |Adult Mystery (partly Historical) |
| Pages |359 |
| Publisher |Grove Press |
| Copyright |2004 |

Synopsis (from web-site)
British student, 'Grey', is obsessed with a past she cannot understand. She comes to Tokyo following rumours of a rare piece of film footage shot during the notorious Nanking Massacre in 1937. The film, if it exists, has been lost for decades. Only one man can help: Shi Chongming, now a visiting professor at the prestigious university of Tokyo , is a survivor of the massacre and holds the key to Grey's search. But will he help her? Increasingly desperate in an alien city where she knows no one, Grey accepts a job as a hostess in an upmarket nightspot catering for Japanese businessmen and wealthy gangsters. One gangster dominates. An old man in a wheelchair guarded by a terrifying entourage, he is rumoured to rely on a powerful elixir for his continued health. It is an elixir that others want for themselves – at any price.

Why I read It
This also turned up on a lot of “the best of” mysteries of the last decade lists. Given mystery is my favorite genre I have been trying to make sure I didn’t miss out on any of the good stuff. For the most part I had the top ten covered already except for this and Kate Atkinson below.

What I Thought About It
Really, really liked this. Had a lot of my favorite things covered like a historical aspect to the story, based in Japan (love Japanese mysteries), English writer, and a solid story to boot. This book explores the idea that people will do some truly evil things and feel perfectly okay justifying it in some belief system. Now we as the average Joe may not be some nasty in our lives, but I see more moderate approaches to this cruelty all the time. Read it in one day it was that good.

Mormon Mentions

Author Biography

Hayder left school at fifteen, and has worked as a barmaid, security guard, film-maker, hostess in a Tokyo club, educational administrator and a teacher of English as a foreign language. Hayder has an MA in film from The American University in Washington DC, and an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University - where she now teaches.

Her debut novel, Birdman, was published in 2000 to wide acclaim. Although some reviewers found the novel (which concerns a serial killer with a particularly vicious modus-operandi) too violent and disturbing, the book became an international bestseller. Birdman introduced readers to DI Jack Caffery, a character who also featured in Hayder's second novel, The Treatment. The Treatment tackled themes of paedophilia. DI Caffery has returned in Hayder's most recent novels, Ritual and Skin, which she has called the Walking Man series.

Mo Hayder lives just outside Bath, England with her partner, Bob Randell (retired police sgt of Avon & Somerset Police Underwater Search Unit), and her daughter.

No comments: