Tag Archives: Asian noir

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

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

One Ashore in Singapore kicks off Beat to a Pulp’s 2013 schedule

t9045A quick heads up that my short story, ‘One Ashore in Singapore’ is kicking off Beat to a Pulp’s 2013 fiction schedule.

For readers, particularly in Australia, who are not familiar with Beat to a Pulp, it’s one of several sites in the US that regularly feature high quality short fiction.Other’s include Plots with GunsShotgun Honey and Noir Nation, just to name a few.

These sites are a great way for up and comers to cut their fiction teeth and establishing writers to feature their short fiction.

I’ve been wanting to crack a story in Beat to a Pulp for a while now, and I’m thrilled to have finally made it.

As the name suggests, ‘One Ashore in Singapore’ is set on Singapore and features my ex-Australian army now professional criminal, Gary Chance. It’s a down and dirty tale of false identities, double dealings and the challenges of finding late night accommodation.

You can read the story in full here.

Enjoy.

The Next Big Thing

Call me old fashioned, but I only just found out what an Internet meem is the other day when I was tagged to take part in the ‘Next Big Thing’.

A meme is something that spreads via the Internet. In this instance, it’s a string of short interview questions with various authors about their current book or work in progress.

I was tagged by New Jersey based crime writer Wallace Stroby. He also tagged Scott Alderberg, Alison Gaylin and Philadelphia author Dennis Tafoya. Esteemed company to be in.

Stroby is the author of a string of crime novels, the most recent of which I’ve read is Cold Shot to the Heart featuring the professional female thief, Crissa Stone. If you haven’t checked his work out already, I suggest you do so.

Since I have foresworn off blogging about my next book, I’ll answer the ten questions about my current novel, Ghost Money.

1. What’s the title of your current book?

Ghost Money, out through Snubnose Press.

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

It came from working on and off as a journalist in Cambodia in the mid-nineties and becoming fascinated with the place, the people, and the contrast between the anything goes, Wild West atmosphere of Phnom Penh and the hardscrabble but incredibly beautiful countryside.… Read more