Crime authors are accustomed to
killing off characters in their novels. In this fictional world, a man’s life
might not be worth more than a dime on longshoreman’s payday. We have no problem
dispatching the evil, malignant, cruel, and selfish megalomaniac. In fact our
readers often like those scenes when the bad guys expiry date is reached. If we
reflect on this ‘liking’ for a moment, one has to admit there is a shared bond
between author and reader over the necessity of killing the bad and protecting
the good. We are natural born killers.
There are three intersecting worlds
of killers and victims. There is the individual killer. He or she might be a hit
man, a crazed ideological or religion-inspired zealot, an emotional hothead, a
cold-blooded gang leader looking to keep his control and authority. We search
out, arrest and punish these people. Then there are the corporate killers.
Profit motive leads to killing to meet the next quarter’s results or the share
price falls. Jay Gould, a famous American 19th century oligarch said, “I can
hire one half the working-class to kill the other half.” That profit at any cost
attitude hasn’t changed much in many parts of the world. And last, the killing
machine of last resort, the one we agree has the right to kill in our
name: the Nation-State.
As a special report to you, though, I wanted to be the first to break the latest news. New legislation has been drafted and is ready to be sent to Parliament concerning ‘face.’
The proposed legislation to abolish the notion of ‘face’ will be announced before dissolution of the House and fresh elections. Penalties for anyone asserting, claiming, or suing for loss of face include five years imprisonment, confiscation of property, and fines up to Baht 10,000.00 (per offence).
Khun Chaiwong, chairman of the Face sub-committee has reported, that by removing ‘face’ from the social, economic, and political sphere, all of the problems of the past five years will be resolved. He says the deep division in Thai society all goes back to the concept of face. His face, your face, her face and on and on until someone’s face is smashed, lost, damaged, dented, makeup smeared and the like.
“It can get very ugly,” said Khun Chaiwong, glancing at his Rolex. The government whips have been reporting tentative support, though amendments to exclude elected MPs (government MPs that is) have been rumored.
"No face will ever be lost again"—the campaign slogan you will hear everywhere come May. The opposition is expected to reply with "the government that has stolen your children’s face doesn’t deserve your vote."*
INSIDE—OUTSIDE: Perspectives on appearance and function in Thai society
There is a struggle between our sense of beauty and function. The way we draw judgments, make decisions, and assign value correlates to how we balance the relative importance of the inside of ‘something’ whether a building, a car, a book, a person, an animal and so on. Criminals also make an evaluation based on the outside and inside.
The amateur criminal who breaks into houses chooses the target from the ‘outside’ or the appearance. On the assumption that a house that looks rich on the outside is bound to have goods worth stealing on the inside. The professional thief seeks to find out what is inside the house first. The professional is inside orientated. He’s not stealing the beauty exterior; he’s stealing something of value inside a structure that may or may not be a marvel of design.
Last Thursday 17th March, we
launched an anthology titled: Bangkok Noir. Six of the twelve
authors were able to attend the launch at the Foreign Correspondents Club of
Thailand. We had a full house to an enthusiastic audience of expats and Thais.
As the editor of Bangkok Noir, I had some comments about the ‘noir’ movement
On Thursday 17th March Bangkok Noir
was launched at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand to a full house. Six
authors attended and spoke about the nature of noir and their experience of
writing in Bangkok. The writers attending were: John Burdett, General Vasit
Dejkunjorn, Tew Bunnag, Christopher G. Moore, Collin Piprell and Dean Barrett.
Colin Cotterill sent along a 'clone' who was exposed early on in the
The photo is courtesy of Voicu Mihnea Simandan, a writer who
lives in Bangkok.
Anyone who has been to law school
knows the dirty little secret of what is on offer. Three years of studying
thousands of short-stories, hardboiled domestic dramas, murders, corporate
fraud, corrupt cops and politicians, greedy heirs, disloyal partners, wives,
siblings, beatings, traps, smacks alongside the head, crashes and smashup and
that is just the first year.
Mindfulness and Murder is
a novel in the Father Ananda Mystery series. In the same series you can find
The Garden of Hell and Killer Karma. This is a great series and deserves a wider readership. If
you haven’t discovered Nick’s books, you are in for a pleasant surprise and good
Colin Cotterill and Eric Stone came to sign copies of Bangkok Noir
On Tuesday 15 March Colin
Cotterill and Eric Stone came to the offices of Heaven
Lake Press to sign copies of Bangkok Noir.
After an emergency hospital visit for writer's cramp, the two authors were put
on IVs with a Singha drip attached. Though Colin demanded only water. Eric
returns to Los Angeles on Thursday so can't attend the launch at the FCCT at
8.00 p.m. And Colin is off to China to speak before an audience of millions who
have gathered to learn more about his Dr. Siri character.
Like most economic activities in life the opportunity available is often linked with class. This is true in legal transactions. The acquisition and merger deals aren’t being conducted by people living in walkup projects in the Bronx or those living in the middle-class ‘burbs. Big deals are reserved for the big boys.
Good news on the film front. On 8th March, Variety ran an article about FilmNation and the newly appointed COO who has given full support to the production of Spirit House as a feature film. Things are looking positive for the film going forward.