Originally published in 1993, this is the second of eleven atmospheric Bangkok-set Vincent Calvino series. Calvino, a disbarred American lawyer turned tough-guy PI, won't let it go when a sad-sack American neighbor, cameraman Jerry Hutton, is found dead in a park lake during Chinese New Year celebrations.
Hutton who had poor judgment and worse luck, had just happened upon his big break - filming the point-blank execution of three Burmese students by Burmese military. Every news station has picked it up and a documentary filmmaker planned to include it, and Hutton, in a new movie project.
But Calvino thinks there's something fishy about Hutton's footage. Especially after an assassin targets him later that night. Trading coded Shakespeare quotes with his friend Police Colonel Pratt, Calvino keeps kicking roadblocks (mostly human) out of his way as he navigates the alleys, slums, back rooms and scariest of all, the politics, of his adopted country, to expose the crime and the killer.
Moore puts you on the streets of Bangkok, immersing us farangs in the color, confusion and quickly seized opportunities of city life, particularly on the fringes. The prose crackles with classic noir style though Moore never overdoes it. Fast-paced and street-wise, this is a character and place-driven series for anyone who enjoys John Burdett or Timothy Hallinan.