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Blog Archive March 2010

March 2010 Crime Buzz

Review by Chris Bilkey



Christopher G. Moore

I have come late to Christopher Moore's PI novels featuring Vincent Calvino. And that's been my loss.

Moore has lived in Bangkok for twenty years, and it shows. His knowledge of the hidden Bangkok, the crime, the politics and the people shines through. And his writing recalls the gritty noir of Chandler and the intrigue of Le Carre with a dry humour thrown in.

Paying Back Jack is the tenth Calvino novel, and together they represent a rich panorama of east meets west. This time round Calvino is drawn into the murky world of private prisons, political assassination and UN officialdom. Calvino is the hard-boiled successor of Philip Marlowe, a damaged, beaten-down but never beaten protagonist who doesn't know when to quit. The Bangkok he inhabits is full of life, corruption and broken dreams. Moore drags you in to experience all of it.

Whether you try it for the exotic setting, the hard-boiled hero or the intrigue and action, you won't be disappointed. And you'll be back for more!


Link: http://newsletters.booktopia.com.au/em/message/email/view.php?id=656972&u=21850

Posted: 4/1/2010 2:16:55 AM 



Seven minutes isnít a long time. Days fly past as if they were seven minutes. Months travel like a bullet train. The way we think of time is likely very different than the way authors and readers and just about everyone else one hundred years ago.

Read more: http://www.internationalcrimeauthors.com/

Posted: 3/26/2010 6:49:51 AM 



I came across a large print copy of Paying Back Jack. http://www.wfhowes.co.uk/catalogue/titles.php?&t=4563


ISBN: 978 1 40745 789 5


The publisher in the UK is W.F. Howes Ltd.


The large print edition will be released in June 2010.


W.F. Howes also publishes a number of other crime, mystery and thriller writers, including: Ian Fleming, Vince Flynn, Jason Goodwin, David Hewson, Arnaldur Indridason, Peter James, Simon Kernick, Bernard Knight, Dennis Lehane, Henning Mankell, Walter Mosley, Barbara Nadel, Robert B Parker, George P Pelecanos, Michael Robotham, Peter Temple, Fred Vargas, and Qiu Xiaolong.


I am honoured to be on this publisherís list.

Posted: 3/23/2010 10:21:18 PM 



On Sunday 21st March Dean Barrett, Stephen Leather and me signed books at the Texas Lonestar Bar in Washington Square.


Here is a photo of the three of us inside one of the booths at the Lonestar.


Those who are familiar with the Vincent Calvino series will know that this is the same bar where the private eye often has lunch. In the series the bar is called The Lonesome Hawk.


We had a good crowd on Sunday and all of sold a fair number of books. It was a good chance to meet readers and to talk about books and life in Thailand.

Posted: 3/21/2010 10:50:29 PM 



Every time Iím writing a book I am reaching out as if in the thin air of imagination. Readers are reaching out, too. Where we meet is inside a story. This blog is about the making of a story in Bangkok on a wet Wednesday morning as I walked up Sukhumvit Road from the Asoke intersection. The street was choked with demonstrators. Thousands of them dressed in red shirts, hats, beating their hand clappers. Traffic had virtually stopped. The stated goal of the red shirts was to march to the prime ministerís family compound on Sukhumvit Road, Soi 31 with the announced intention to spill blood.

Read more: http://www.internationalcrimeauthors.com/

Posted: 3/19/2010 6:29:23 AM 


Bangkok Ė Sukhumvit Road Ė 17th March

Yesterday I posted my account of the red demonstration on Sukhumvit Road. I walked among the crowd from the Sukhumvit and Asoke intersection to Soi 31. Along the way I took a series of photographs. Below is a slide show of additional photographs from Wednesday morning.


As a novelist, I am a storyteller. These photographs are like a short story; a slice of a rainy Wednesday morning in Bangkok. A Sukhumvit Road story told in a series of images. Inside the larger political story, were lots of Twitter sized personal stories. I sought them out. The expression on a personís face in a huge crowd tells a story.


Others who were photographing around me were finding their own story in the crowd. That is the thing you first learn about being caught up inside a large demonstration. You are surrounding by more people than you can ever remember. They are strangers. They had come into the by the thousands street and in the rain because of a story. Each of red shirted demonstrators formed part of a collective and but these werenít ants. They also had individual stories. All one had to do was ask. Such a simple thing but rarely do people listen to a strangerís story.


It is the individual story that moves and touches a reader. It must be genuine. It doesnít have to be original. Heart felt is the password. I found on the street yesterday, thinking how any individual was just another face in a sea of faces. Their personal narrative is swallowed up in a sea of faces. They called themselves red shirted people. But that was the reason for their coming together; as people they were more than the color of their shirts.


Photographing a crowd difficult. I forced to decide what story to record. The selection process wouldnít wait for reflection; it must be made in seconds as the crowd doesnít stand still. Every journalist understands that pressure. Novelists, in the writing process, can freeze the action and walk around the scene and characters. In a real life crowd, thatís not possible.


Yesterday morning, being on the street, was a good reminder for any author, that the creative process is different when a camera is picked up and he or she moves through a moving crowd taking pictures. It reminded me to appreciate the importance of the selection and how the speed of time moves everything and thing forward making the possibilities of variations infinite. But finding the story in a crowd is a novelistís job, it is what he or she is destined to do.

Posted: 3/18/2010 5:53:03 AM 




Along with Dean Barrett and Stephen Leather, I will be signing books at the Texan Lonestar Bar in Washington Square (Sukhumvit Road off Soi 22). The signing starts around 3.00 p.m. on Saturday. I will be signing copies of The Corruptionist and The Vincent Calvino Readers Guide.


There should be free food.


Come along and say hello on Saturday.


Posted: 3/18/2010 12:46:58 AM 


Sea of Red on Sukhumvit Road

From 10.50 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. I took photographs of the large crowd of red shirted demonstrators in Bangkok. I walked from the Asoke and Sukhumvit Road intersection toward Soi 31. The police had closed off traffic to Sukhumvit Road. They had no choice it was jammed with demonstrators in pickups, large trucks, motorcycles and tuk tuks with thousands on foot. It was an orderly march. But the sheer number of people restricted movement. People exercised a great deal of patience. They had no choice. The cloudy skies meant the crowd was spared the usual searing temperatures at noon. It was a mixed blessing. Instead of a blistering sun, they were rained on.


I talked with a number of the demonstrators along the way to Soi 31. They were eager to tell their story and have their photographs taken. Modern demonstrations seem to have become storytelling events played out for the media. Though I saw very few signs in English. There were lots of banner written in Thai in the sea of red and Thai flags. I saw very few photos of Thaksin.



It was impossible to move on Sukhumvit Road after 11.10 a.m. Sukhumvit Road was as the eye could see was a moving sea of red.


Around 11. 08 a.m. it started to rain. Few of the demonstrators had umbrellas. About 11.11 a.m. two large trucks full of red shirted demonstrators led the way down Soi 31 toward the prime ministerís family compound. By now the rain was quite heavy.

I know this soi well as it was the short cut I used to drive to my house on Soi 27. For twenty years I had traveled up and down this section of Soi 31 and had never seen such a mass of people before. Soi 31 is mostly lined with luxury condos, restaurants, a well known book publisher and small businesses and a few remaining houses.


The police werenít all that visible on soi 31. Understandably they wanted to avoid confrontation. I did find a couple of police standing near a gate. One of the police officers wearing sunglasses and holding a shield smiled, holding a red rose.


People in the surrounding buildings were out on their terraces or the street snapping photographs of the crowds. Those who stood on the street waved encouraged. And a number of the locals displayed makeshift red stripes of cloth which they waved at the crowd.


Several men emerged from the Sukhumvit Road end of Soi 31 carrying large plastic jugs of blood. The crowd cheered as the men displayed the blood for the many photojournalists who were photographing the demonstration. They blood was then carried out of sight toward the prime ministerís residence. By now the rain was coming down quite hard. Most of the demonstrators were soaked, the rain running down their faces.


Music blared from loudspeakers on the trucks. When the music stopped one of the leaders made one of those inspirational speeches. The rain drenched crowd cheered. It was a kind of street carnival. I witnessed a great deal of laughter, singing, dancing and beating of drums and blowing of horns. The mood of the crowd might be described as a war party disguised as folk music festival using voodoo rituals as the weapon of choice.


Apologies for the uneven quality of the photographs but anyone can tell you that shooting photos using a cell phone in the rain while trying not to get run over in a massive sea of people isnít as easy as it sounds. Hopefully the photos will give you some idea of how one person witnessed the demonstrations on Sukhumvit Road this 17th March 2010.


The smile still worked in the crowd. It wasnít a threatening feeling caught in the midst of these thousands of people. There were lots of women as well as men, the young and the old; students, teachers, farmers, labourers, and some office workers. Those who lived and worked on Soi 31 took time out to wave at the crowd and they waved back.


By 12.30 p.m. the demonstrators turned and began to exit Soi 31 for Sukhumvit Road. I was told they were headed next to the American Embassy.


By 1.30 p.m. the traffic was starting to slowly move again on Sukhuvmit road.

Posted: 3/17/2010 4:41:41 AM 


Bangkok at the Crossroad of History

If you follow the news, you are likely aware that a large political demonstration is underway for this weekend in Bangkok (13th to 14th March). Hotels are reporting cancellations. Personal friends from England whoíd planned to visit me this weekend have also cancelled. Many people are watchful as events unfold. Who are the demonstrators? And what do they want? Two complex questions and the answers will depend on whom you ask. There isnít one single answer that has a consensus. Political protests are messy affairs; fragmented into factions, rolling experiments that are unstable, and fueled by a hybrid mixture of emotions and political argument.

Read more: http://www.internationalcrimeauthors.com/

Posted: 3/12/2010 3:15:10 AM 



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