Category Archives: Asian noir

Gunshine State, my second novel, to be published in 2016

Been sitting on this news for a while and now I can finally make it public. My second novel, currently titled Gunshine State, has been picked by crime only publisher, 280 Steps. It will be released sometime in the second half of 2016.

Gunshine State is a dark, innovative heist story. The heist story is much neglected in Australian crime fiction and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing one that is hard boiled, intelligent and uniquely Australian. Gunshine State is my attempt to do this. The central character is Gary Chance, a former Australian army truck driver, who has featured in a number of my short stories.

If you want a better idea of what you are in for with Gunshine State, all I can say for now is think Richard Stark’s character Parker, Garry Disher’s Wyatt, and Criss Stone in the books by New Jersey writer, Wallace Stroby. Add a touch of Surfers Paradise sleaze and a lengthy and very dangerous stop over in Asia.

I have heard a lot about 280 Steps from quite a few people and it has all been good. I’m really looking forward to working with them on Gunshine State.

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Ghost Money just 99 cents for 24 hours on June 30

GhostMoneyfinalcoverI am a little brain dead tonight as a result of having spent a wonderful weekend in Adelaide as a guest of the South Australian Writers Centre inaugural Crimefest. I’ll be writing about this event more a little later in the week, when I’ve had some sleep.

For now, I just wanted to give readers a heads up that Crime Wave Press, the publisher of my crime novel set in 1990s Cambodia, Ghost Money, will be discounting the Kindle version of the book to 99 cents for 24 hours on June 30.

So, if you have not picked up a copy of the book yet, here is a chance to do so at very little cost.

Australian readers will be able to get the book here.

Those in the US and elsewhere, can do so here.

Ghost Money was first published in the US in 2012 and has recently been republished by the Hong Kong based Crime Wave Press.

Second time around the book is continuing to get good feedback from those who read it. The respected site, My Bookish Ways recently said of the Ghost Money that it ‘is highly recommended for old school and new school noir fans alike, especially for anyone looking for a change of locale.… Read more

Book review: Missing in Rangoon

Missing in RangoonFor well over twenty years Canadian lawyer turned crime writer Christopher G Moore has chronicled change in Thailand and the surrounding region through the character of Bangkok-based American private investigator, Vincent Calvino.

Moore has penned thirteen Calvino books. Most of them are set in Thailand, although Moore has also taken his character to Vietnam and Cambodia. In the latest instalment, Missing in Rangoon, Calvino heads to Burma or, as it is now officially known, Myanmar.

The opening pages find Calvino standing in the shell of the Lonesome Hawk Bar, one of the establishments that used to form part of Washington Square, a well known and down at heel part of expat Bangkok, recently demolished to make way for yet another of the condominiums that mark the city’s skyline. Calvino suggests to the former owner that he should consider starting over in Rangoon, a city on the make and welcoming all comers, much like Bangkok was decades ago.

Not that Calvino particularly wants to make the journey himself. He’s being pressured to travel to Burma by a disagreeable English brothel owner, who wants to hire him to find his son. The son has disappeared in country’s capital along with his Burmese girlfriend, a real head turner and the lead singer in the band the son plays in.… Read more

MIFF 2013 progress report #1: Manila in the Claws of Light & Monsoon Shootout

ManilaA couple of weeks ago I posted on the films I was planning to check out as part of the Melbourne International Festival. Yesterday I ticked off my first two choices, the Indian noir Monsoon Shootout and Manila in the Claws of Light.

First up, Manila in the Claws of Light (or as it is otherwise known as, The Nail of Brightness). This 1975 film is considered one of the classics of Philippines cinema. I’d heard a lot about and I wasn’t disappointed.

Julio (Bembol Rocco) is a young man who leaves his idyllic life in a small rural fishing town and travels to Manila to find his childhood sweetheart, Ligaya (Hilda Koronel), who has been trafficked into the city’s sex trade. Finding himself flat broke after he is mugged and all his money is stolen, he has no choice but to take a job working on a high-rise construction site.

The conditions are brutal, he sleeps in a wooden shack next to the half finished building, and workplace deaths are common. He also has to deal with the foreman, who regularly rips the workers off for a portion of their wages and sacks anyone who complains.

He eventually loses that job and ends up homeless on Manila’s streets, where he skirmishes with criminal gangs and meets a male prostitute who tries to induct him into the world of sex work.… Read more

Book review: Kuala Lumpur noir

KL NoirIf you need further proof there’s no better vehicle than crime fiction for shining a light into the crevices and cracks of society the powers in control don’t want you to see, check out a new anthology called KL Noir.

That’s KL as in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

Kuala Lumper may not seem like the most obvious place to set an anthology of noir fiction. On the surface, at least, it has a reputation as an orderly, well behaved city.

But if this book is anything to go by, a lot is going on under the surface.

KL is a city crawling with horrendously exploited migrant workers and angry ghosts, a place where breakneck economic development and rampant consumerism has left many of its citizens with no other social outlet than wandering shopping malls, and which is governed by a highly authoritarian ruling party that has clung to power for over half a century.

How Asian writers interpret crime fiction in general, and noir narratives in particular, fascinates me. KL Noir is first of four volumes about the city’s dark side by independent Malay publishing company Buku Fixi. I didn’t like every story in the collection, par for the course for any anthology. But there are some great tales and, collectively, they’re a great insight into what noir means in this particular neck of the woods.… Read more