Yes, it's almost two inches thick and more than 400 pages, but that shouldn't deter readers from procuring this book promptly ... virtually irresistible, with twisty-turny, didn't-see-that-coming manipulations guaranteed to keep readers wide awake into the wee hours ... translated by Singaporean novelist and playwright Jeremy Tiang, who dexterously conveys Chan's amalgamation of prose, text streams, e-mails and blog posts complete with belligerent comments ... Chan presents what initially seems to be a linear mystery--solve the dead girl's murder--and amplifies the thriller into a multi-layered treatise on overcrowded cities and its overlooked citizens (his native Hong Kong earns character status here), the unchecked power of the Internet, the grey ethics of revenge, and the potential limits of morality in business, friendships and even among family members. Deftly controlling multiple narratives beyond the sisters' tragedy, Chan exposes high tech, high finance, high fraud, high school hierarchies, dysfunctional families, absent parents, relentless surveillance, sexual politics and rape culture. For readers, the provocative mix of urgent contemporary issues and page-turning action won't disappoint.
Chan Ho-kei has worked as a software engineer and video game designer, and his knowledge of the latest technology shines through in his new high-tech thriller ... This story could have taken place in any major city in the world, but the urban Hong Kong setting adds flavor and brings the reader into a world that expats and outsiders are rarely if ever privy to ... unlike the many 'expat fiction' crime novels and thrillers set in the city, was written by a local for a local Hong Kong readership. It’s not often that English readers have the chance to read thrillers that focus on things central to Hong Kong culture ... Chan’s choice of sexual assault is timely, but his occasional use of derogatory language to describe women seems contradictory to the message he wants to convey: characterizing women as to whether or not they look like 'supermodels' ends up distracting from what one images his point to be. He is however clearer about the disparity between wealthy and working class in Hong Kong.
Their search, punctuated by hacking details and sharp-witted verbal sparring, unveils a dangerous swirl of petty feuds, cybertheft, and the existence of a predator stalking Hong Kong’s vulnerable teens. An intense but rewarding blend of technology, deduction, and flawed relationships; fans of Chan’s well-written English-language debut, The Borrowed (2016), will find even more to like here.