The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis book review: Stephen Leather’s ‘Hungry Ghost’ from Hong Kong

Written By: herbrunbridge - Dec• 17•13

LeatherHungryGhost1aStephen Leather never ceases to tantalize us. It’s not just the vicious murderers or the fetching murderesses, either. Hungry Ghost (ISBN 978-0-340-96072-1), originally published in 1992 and re-released in 2008, is replete with all the cerebral stuff we’ve grown to expect from the author. His “no stones unturned” approach is something we figure he picked up from his years as a journalist in Hong Kong, which serves him extremely well in this book. His descriptions of what goes on inside the Hong Kong police department and the triads contribute to the compelling cultural feel of this thriller. We liked one of the murderers, too.

The story involves a rogue plot by British operatives to change the timing of the handing over of HK to China. The plot goes horribly wrong, leaving the police, the triad, the Chinese government, and British and American undercover operations all vying to fix the mess. From our perspective here at WoWasis, the most delicious part of the book recounts a secret triad meeting. It runs seven pages and it’s fascinating. The author told us he mined the data from a friend working for the Hong Kong Police, and we recommend that passage for anyone interested in the triad culture.

This 450 page book is thrilling from beginning to end, with Leather’s well-known plot twists and changing affiliations. The reader alternately roots for the good guys, the bad guys, and the questionable guys. At the end, the reader is left to determine, when the dust has cleared, who was right and who was wrong. And we think you’ll fall in love with one of the murderers, too. Buy it here at the WoWasis eStore.

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