Malcolm Forbes

Our Man in Phnom Penh

Hunters in the Dark

By Lawrence Osborne

Hogarth 339pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Lawrence Osborne’s fiction features culture-shocked Brits abroad, adrift and well out of their depth. Hunters in the Dark, his fourth novel, serves up more of the same – though at one point welcome familiarity gives way to creeping déjà vu. Wasn’t his last offering, The Ballad of a Small Player (2014), also a thriller set in the Far East about an itinerant Englishman passing himself off as someone grand while tempting fate and courting danger with dirty casino cash?

Fortunately, Osborne’s latest peripatetic protagonist quits while he’s ahead and leaves the casino at the end of the first chapter with $2,000 in an envelope. The rest of the novel deals with the consequences, which take Osborne in a new narrative direction. His solitary wanderer, Robert Grieve, attempts to stay afloat in a foreign land but also, after news of his winnings spreads, to stay alive. 

Sara Stewart


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