This is an astounding, mesmerizing book. It details a young girl's quest to solve an early mystery in her life. The protagonist is distinctly off-beat; raised cruelly by a mother with strange rules, then institutionalized as we find out bit-by-bit, the girl, Grey, absolutely HAS to locate a specific, elusive book describing the Japanese assault on Nanking - it's important to her mental health.
She finds the author in Tokyo, but to survive while he makes a bargain with her, she becomes a coffeehouse girl and lives in a moldering, run-down labyrinth of a apartment-house with distinctly odd companions. The needs of Nanking book's author and Grey blend together with haunting suspense and psychological thrills. This book is not for the faint of heart, but it will reverberate as a core-shaking book for those who enjoy a tense British-style mystery.