Another book with Bangkok bar girls, but fortunately, no sick buffalos, in Bangkok Vanishing (ISBN 978 0615424217, The Exotic Press, Thailand release March 2011). With so many books set in Bangkok, I must admit that I approach the reviews of this genre with trepidation. I need not have worried, author Eric Rogers has managed to elevate the book well above many others with “Bangkok” in the title.
The plot revolves around Blake Lawrence, an American ex military man and an accomplished killer who finds a night of dalliance with a Bangkok bar girl changes his life. He questions his role in society, his role as a husband and father, he projects himself as the savior of the bar girl, all the time attempting to justify why he did not just walk away from the situation with her. Was this ‘true love’ he wonders? Then he wonders if the feelings he has for the 18 year old Thai girl are the same as he has for his own daughter. By this stage Blake Lawrence is totally and utterly psychologically at sea.
Unfortunately for the central character, all was not as it seemed from the outside, and he finds himself being blackmailed, putting his other life in America in danger of implosion.
And implode it does, but fortunately the central character has two war buddies from the Marines who will help their friend Blake without question. Military training assisting here.
Rogers is obviously a big bike enthusiast with descriptions of riding at the limit, which only someone who has experienced this could put into words. Doing ‘stoppies’ on Sukhumvit Road requires a greater knowledge than that gleaned from pillion riding behind motorcycle taxis.
The plot nicely dovetails as the disparate members of the cast are inexorably drawn together for a final showdown.
As the end approaches, so the brutal action increases as predators meet the military, and the speed of the action is breathtaking, author Rogers shortening the chapters as the reader scans voraciously. Will the American (kinda good guys) trio win over the three Thai bad guys?
Author Eric Rogers has done a good job with this book, it reads well with a speedy plot reminiscent of Burdett’s Bangkok 8, but goes deeper than that with his psycho-analytical approach of the central character, Blake Lawrence. The American indulges in self-analysis, alternately attempting to remain a ‘good guy’ in the eyes of the world, while at the same time trying to justify his course of action as regards the bar girl Geng.
The finale I found a little too Alice in Wonderland, or too contrived, but it is a work of fiction in the thriller genre after all.
For some readers, this book might just open a few eyes (and close a few wallets) as regards liaisons with bar girls. It may also show some readers that Thailand has a rich culture, even though the majority of the Thais are not rich. And on the other hand, it might show that Americans on holiday have too much money!
No price as we went to press, but expect around B. 550.