Asia Hand: A Vincent Calvino Novel Paperback – Jul 13 2010
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"Calvino is at once in the finest tradition of the lone private detective and a complete original." --Matt Benyon Rees, author of "The Samaritan's Secret""Calvino is a worthy successor to Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer." --"The Nation" (Bangkok)"The top foreign author focusing on the Land of Smiles, Christopher G. Moore clearly has a firsthand understanding of the expat milieu. . . . Moore is perspicacious." --"Bangkok Post""Vincent Calvino [is] Bangkok's most newsworthy private eye. ... ["Asia Hand" is] dankly atmospheric." --"Kirkus Reviews""Underneath Bangkok society is a deeply encrusted demiworld of hope, despair, corruption, and courage that Moore, an American-born writer who has lived there for almost twenty years, paints with maestrolike Dickensian strokes." --Tom Plate, "The Seattle Times""Moore's flashy style successfully captures the dizzying contradictions of this vertiginous landscape."--Marilyn Stasio, "The New York Times Book Review"
From the Publisher
Second in the Vincent Calvino P.I. Series
Bangkok - the Year of the Monkey. Private investigator Vincent ("Vinee") Calvino's New Year celebration ends when Jerry Hutton, wearing a necklace of wooden penises, is pulled dead from Lumpini Park Lake. Cable TV shows dramatic footage of several Burmese soldiers on the Thai border executing students in cold blood. Hutton was the cameraman.
Calvino probes the truth behind Hutton's job with an LA film production company in Bangkok. They are shooting a feature titled Lucky Charms. When Calvino confronts the director about Hutton's role in the production he hits a wall of silence.
On the other side of that wall, Calvino and Lt. Col. Pratt discover an elite film unit of old Asia Hands with important Bangkok connections. They find themselves matched against a set of farangs conditioned for urban survival and willing to go for a knock-out punch. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you want to see and learn what life is like for the expats, this is the best way to go.If you've lived in Thailand or visit it on a regular basis,as I do,you'll feel very much at home with the storyline,the characters and the general mentality of all those you meet and observe.As other reviewers have pointed out,this tale IS somewhat scary but as far as reading entertainment goes,you'll have fun with this tale,I promise.
What I also find great sanuk,in my usual overly-cynnical manner,is that the worst of the "bad guys" are either Americans or contolled by American forces.I have met both these people and the Vinnie Calvinos--BOTH groups "Asia Hands"--and what can be more than somewhat scary is that,in most cases,the "bad guys" outnumber the Calvinos.Still,even dealing with one Calvino personality reminds me of why I keep returning to my beloved Thailand and why the kingdom WILL be my permenant home in the future.Please read "Asia Hand" and do what most of us do:enjoy the hell out of it!!!
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.
Recommended if you want to read the reality and fear the consequences. For those of you wanting an adventure, your stomachs will churn.
Mr. Moore should be required reading for any Thailand expat needing a visa extension beyond 60 days. Asia Hand is the second in the popular Vincent Calvino P.I. crime series. The first half of the book I thought had some really good writing. I was prepared not to like when I got to the Hollywood Treatment by Vinnie at the 1/2 way point but that actually worked for me and reinforced the plot lines. I liked the plot and didn't think it was particularly difficult or easy to follow. You had to pay attention.
I like the little things about Christopher Moore's writing style and following a Raymond Chandler 1950's book it made the evolution of crime fiction writing apparent. I doubt Chandler would ever have a chapter like THIRD SHIFT, which highlights the misfits found in Bangkok brilliantly. And who doesn't have a little misfit in them? Chandler paints external pictures well; Mr Moore paints internal pictures well. I prefer internal assessments. An example is his brief but brilliant treatment of the triumvirate of all sexual relationships: commitment, passion and trust. I liked that a lot.
It was dark, believable, nicely interwoven and full of bad guys. The ending I enjoyed. I am a sucker for a Buddhist moral so that worked for me and I thought Moore did a great job of painting the personality of Vinnie's 13 year old daughter, visiting Bangkok with his ex-wife. Vincent describing a truck load of Thai peasant labor to her also stands out as to why Moore is one of only a handful of authors who have the Thailand expertise to write about the various layers of complex Thai society. The whole insider's Hollywood scene I actually liked and learned from, unlike the reviewer who gave this book a 1 star rating. Different strokes for different folks as we say in Thailand. Start out with Spirit House by Moore then go from there. A Killing Smile is also a good read about Bangkok expat life. Pattaya 24/7 and 9 Gold Bullets were also good.