Category Archives: Crime fiction and film from Cambodia

Mid-summer reading report back

Total ChaosAs has become my practice, it’s time for my annual mid-summer reading report back – short reviews of some of the books I have read so far over the summer holidays. Without further introduction, in no particular order they are as follows:

Total Chaos, Jean-Claude Izzo

I’d never heard of Jean-Claude Izzo, the founder of the ‘Mediterranean noir movement’, until a friend recommended him to me after the attacks in Paris last November. My friend claimed not only were his books good crime reads, they provided a unique insight into the Islamic community in France. I wasn’t disappointed. Total Chaos, the first of Izzo’s so-called ‘Marseilles trilogy’, combines crime fiction smarts with a fascinating examination of immigrant politics in the French port city.

Fabio Montale grew up on the streets of Marseilles with two close childhood friends, Ugo and Manu. Fabio become a cop whose career is going nowhere as a result of his unfashionable focus on preventing crime rather than just cracking heads. Ugo and Manu became criminals. When his two friends are killed in violent circumstances, Fabio investigates what led to their deaths. He discovers his friends where bound up in a complex web of criminal power plays that involve organised crime, the National Front and veterans of France’s various imperial entanglements abroad.… Read more

Ghost Money now available in paperback & other book related news

GhostMoneyfinalcoverAs we move with terrifying speed towards the end of 2015, I want to hit you all with a few pieces of book related news.

First up, Ghost Money, my crime novel set in nineties Cambodia is now available in hardback from the publisher, Crime Wave Press. A brand spanking new hard copy of the my novel, which is still getting good reviews, will set you back around $14 plus postage, give or take the exchange rate. I mean, really, as the Yuletide season approaches what better present could you give someone?

For those of you who may be new to this, here’s the pitch:

Cambodia, 1996, the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of the coalition government scrambling to gain the upper hand. Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery. Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan. 

But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking. Teaming up with Heng Sarin, a local journalist, Quinlan’s search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle scarred western borderlands. As the political temperature soars, he is slowly drawn into a mystery that plunges him into the heart of Cambodia’s bloody past.

Ghost Money is a crime novel about Cambodia in the mid-nineties, a broken country, what happens to those trapped between two periods of history, the choices they make, what they do to survive.Read more

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

Ghost Money redux

GhostMoneyfinalcoverOkay, it’s official. Ghost Money, my crime novel set in 1990s Cambodia, now has a second life via the folks at Hong Kong based publisher, Crime Wave Press.

Ghost Money was originally published in the US in 2012, but, given the setting, I’m thrilled that it’s now in the hands of an Asian-based publisher. And feast your eyes on the wonderful cover the folks at Crime Wave Press have done.

You can pick up the Kindle version of Ghost Money here, with the dead tree book to follow in the near future.

Regular Pulp Curry readers may be familiar with Ghost Money. For those who have not heard of it or checked it out, the elevator pitch involves a missing Australian businessman, a Vietnamese Australian ex-cop with a history, a country still recovering from the trauma of the Khmer Rouge. As one of my favourite blurbs for the book goes: “Ghost Money could well be The Third Man of Asian Noir.”

The longer pitch is as follows:

Cambodia, 1996, the long-running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of the coalition government scrambling to gain the upper hand. Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery. Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan.… Read more

My year in books: Tom Vater


I’m pleased to welcome Bangkok-based journalist and writer Tom Vater as the next contributor to the ‘my year in books’ series.

Tom is the author of The Cambodian Book of the Dead, a great hard-boiled crime novel set in Cambodia, which I reviewed here on this site in early November.

The book is available here. You can find out more about Tom and his work on his on-line home, here.

Thanks for your contribution, Tom. I particularly approve of the inclusion of Robert Stone’s book, Dog Soldiers. That’s one I definitely have to re-read.

The Master and Margerita, Mikhail Bulgakov

I got to this incredible, magical tale by low-down pop cultural ways when I was sixteen and am currently rereading the book.  In this enduring Russian novel, the devil causes mischief amongst the atheist and greedy communist elite in 1920s Soviet Moscow, one of the world’s greatest love stories, between the Master and Margarita, plays itself out, and there’s an alternative narrative of the relationship between Pontius Pilate and Jesus. The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil is said to be partially inspired by the novel and that’s how I found Bulkakov’s subversive masterpiece.

“But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?Read more