Friday, 28 September 2018
The Chinese Proverb by Tina Clough
An old Chinese proverb states that if you save someone’s life you are then responsible for that person.
Hunter Grant, an ex-soldier, is staying at his basic bach in Northland when he finds an unconscious young woman in the bush during a storm. Gradually it is revealed that the girl, Dao, has run away from a man she calls Master, and has been enslaved for some time. Master is a drug trafficker who is desperate to find Dao as she knows too much information about him. By association Hunter is in the firing line as well, and takes matters concerning Dao's safety into his own hands using his knowledge as an international security consultant. If you are unconscious and in trouble in the middle of the New Zealand bush it would seem that Hunter Grant would be the best possible person to find you (kind of like having Bear Grylls sitting beside you when your plane goes down). Although in many ways Hunter and Dao are polar opposites, they share experiences of psychological and physical damage; Hunter from the Afghanistan war and Dao from years of enslavement and the death of her parents. Three women help in Hunter's quest to keep Dao safe: Hunters old army friend Charlie, and his two sisters. Hunter's dog Scruff is also an endearing character in his own right.
This is a great pacy story with interesting relationships, good characters and gripping suspense.
Tina Clough is a Hawke's Bay author who has previously published Running Towards Danger and The Girl Who Lived Twice. She was born in Sweden, married a New Zealander and also works as a translator and editor of Swedish medical research papers. Clough's last book Running Towards Danger was set in Hawke's Bay and also dealt with a young woman in distress being pursued by criminals, although in a very different way.
The Chinese Proverb provides an interesting view on how a person copes with changes in society after having no contact with the outside world for many years. For the first time Clough writes from a male perspective, which she manages with aplomb.
For those of you who say you don't like reading New Zealand authors: a) shame on you, and b) Clough's crime novels have more depth than many of her international peers works, and are all the more authentic for having a New Zealand setting.
Tina Clough joins Catherine Robinson in a session during the Readers & Writers section of the Hawkes Bay Arts Festival. Rebel Girls Sunday 21 October, 10.00am in the Spiegeltent, Havelock North.
Posted by Katrina
Catalogue link: The Chinese Proverb