New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A veteran journalist in Hong Kong investigates the disappearance of a student protester in this “sensual, provocative, and riveting” (The Washington Post) novel from the celebrated author of The Forgiven—now a major motion picture starring Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes.
“Osborne is a startlingly good observer of privilege, noting the rites and rituals of the upper classes with unerring precision and an undercurrent of malice.”—Katie Kitamura, The New York Times Book Review, on Beautiful Animals
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, CrimeReads
After two decades as a journalist in Hong Kong, ex-pat Englishman Adrian Gyle is ready to turn his back on the city he knew so well. But as Hong Kong erupts in violence with pro-democracy demonstrations hitting ever closer to home, could this be the final assignment Gyle was looking for?
Watching from the skyrises is his old friend Jimmy Tang, the scion of one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families. Through him Gyle uncovers an intriguing lead: the mysterious Rebecca, a student involved in the protests, and the latest of his Jimmy’s reckless dalliances. But when Rebecca goes missing and Jimmy hides, it rekindles in Gyle an old urge to investigate.
Piecing together Rebecca’s final days and hours, Gyle must tread carefully through a volatile world of friendship and betrayal. Vividly capturing a city on the brink, On Java Road tells the gripping story of a man between the fault lines of old worlds and new orders in pursuit of the truth.
This winning mystery from Osborne (Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Novel) centers on Adrian Gyle, an English journalist who, after two decades living and working in Hong Kong, has reconciled himself to his career having plateaued and to being known "vaguely as a writer of something or other, and a fairly infamous glutton, but little more than that." Adrian flashes back to memories of the beginning and development of his closest and longest relationship. While at Clare College, Cambridge, he became close with Jimmy Tang, whose family was among Hong Kong's wealthiest and most influential. Their paths cross again when, during demonstrations against Beijing's policies, one of the protestors, Rebecca To, a student to whom Jimmy once introduced Adrian, disappears. With foul play suspected, Adrian turns detective to try to learn Rebecca's fate. Osborne makes a city beset by unrest, countered by harsh repression, feel palpable, and the dynamic between two college friends of different socioeconomic backgrounds will remind many of Brideshead Revisited. Those patient enough to wait for the mystery plotline to kick in will be rewarded.