cover image The Borrowed

The Borrowed

Chan Ho-kei, trans. from the Chinese by Jeremy Tang. Black Cat, $16 trade paper (496p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2588-0

Retired detective Kwon Chun-dok, the Sherlock Holmes–like hero of this ambitious episodic crime novel set in Hong Kong from Chan (The Man Who Sold the World), is on his deathbed in 2013, working on a murder case with the aid of his mentee, Insp. Sunny Lok. Subsequent sections, introduced in reverse chronological order, focus on the infamous triads of Hong Kong organized crime (in 2003), the transfer of sovereignty from the U.K. to China (in 1997), the Tiananmen Square riots (in 1989), and more. Trained in England, the brilliant Chun-dok has been a great success, “silently filling a glorious page of the history of Hong Kong policing.” The mysteries he solves, as clever as they may be, can feel a bit old-fashioned. The author’s real goal is to tell a history of modern Hong Kong, as Chan explains in his afterword. As a “social narrative” of the city, to use his phrase, the story is fascinating. [em]Agent: Markus Hoffmann, Regal Hoffmann & Associates. (Jan.) [/em]