Another book with strong local content, Thai Kiss (ISBN978-1-938369-02-5, Aardwolfe Books, 2013) was written by Matt Carrell and is his second book, the first being “Thai Lottery… and Other Stories from Pattaya.” This was a collection of short stories, and Thai Kiss is his first true novel.
Carrell initially trained as an accountant and worked in the international Financial Services industry, and it was during that time that he developed an affinity for Thailand, and apparently Pattaya in particular (despite having his wife visiting Thailand with him).
The new book is a duality with one British lad (Paul Murphy) describing his experiences in Pattaya, and contrasted against this are the personal thoughts of the Thai girl (Yim) he eventually wishes to marry. This approach has worked well for some other authors, particularly Stephen Leather’s Private Dancer, which has a similar skeleton to this new book.
The British main characters are introduced early, with Paul a very minor figure in some drug importation deals. Paul is obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and when his mate is found dead, Paul runs to Thailand to escape any retribution that may be coming his way from the drug cartels. Initially he is very hopeful that he can meet up with the drug supplier himself and run the ‘business’ in the UK by himself. This is a pipe dream, and sources of supply shun all his overtures. They are smarter than him!
Author Carrell is very much au fait with the “hospitality” scene in Pattaya, and Paul gravitates there, despite wishing to avoid it, but not being a strong character, is soon immersed in it.
That immersion sees Paul meeting characters which abound in Pattaya who will find you (if in business) before you find them. These characters include the chap from the BiB and the local heavy from the motorcycle taxi putsch.
It is around that stage in the book that you begin to see both sides of the life in the Pattaya underworld. Paul is not bright enough to take in the complete picture, and allows himself to be led by his girlfriend Yim.
When you start being made aware of both sides of the coin, you can see where the trail is leading you, and it is not where Paul thinks it is, despite the claims of undying love from Yim. (More than one reader will identify with this situation.)
Yim is the key character in the plot, and she is used to show the cultural divide. Pragmatism takes precedence over everything else, and when life presents another hurdle, the one that is least high will be chosen by Yim (and 90 percent of all Thai women working in the bar scene).
As the book progresses through the relationship between Paul and his bride to be, the reader is let into the secret (if you haven’t guessed) as to who is actually on the side of the farang, and who sees the farang as somebody worth picking over. A good read for the weekend.
The book is available through Amazon, or contact the author directly via email [email protected]