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Hints, faint at first, of Fight Club, I couldn’t miss the clues among the kitty litter of gems.

‘The Miami Hotel.
There she stood.
Washed-out grandness like the old cocktail lounge singer marinating herself in a gin in the corner of a hotel bar. ‘

Welcome to the dysfunctional world of Bangkok Dick, Joe Dylan where illusions bounce back at you through distorted mirrors. The book just grabs you, from catching buses into the night to no where – he’s always going somewhere – to taxis with intent.

The book takes you places. It’s a place called Bangkok, and only mercenaries need apply.

It isn’t all tug and sin, visits to a monk where the detective searches his soul. A ride down the Chaya Phraya, ducking from poisoned darts from a neckless Thai thug. The demons and they are in demand, but Joe doesn’t want to be a sacrifice. He’s holding up on the booze. He wants to hit the whores hard but he has a case to solve. All is not as it appears. Three different clients want him to investigate the same case, and if there’s money and more leads involved, Joe takes them on effortlessly. The case has become personal for him.

A soulless city that’s greased by hard cash, Newman doesn’t balk at the existential crisis of Bangkok. He tells a story and doesn’t mind telling how it really is. Early Joe Dylan is off the booze and the pills. He’s not only solving a case, he’s making peace with himself. Will he pull through this before he succumbs to the booze, or will he implode? I’m hoping both. Anything can happen in a place called The Red Night Zone.

This is a punter’s Bangkok where ghosts of past haunts just jump out of the pages, bringing on a bad pang of nostalgia. It’s deja vu, all over again.

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