Thai Lottery, author Matt Carrell, is another self-published book (or one without an ISBN number at least). The book sent down for review has one story, Thai Lottery, chosen as the title for the book, plus another dozen or so short stories. These have names such as “The birds and the beers”, “West Ham Vs Tottenham – Pattaya style”, “Crazy medicine”, and “Eat your heart out, Nicole Kidman”.
The opening story “Thai Lottery” is almost a travel item, taking up almost half the book, with very accurate descriptions of Walking Street in Pattaya, even down to the different street entertainers, many of whom are under age, which does not escape the author either.
Even the make up of the tourists has not escaped Carrell’s eye, with descriptions of the Russian families, and Russian ladies, plus the new influx of Indian tourists, able to (out)barter the native Thais, other than the native Thai bar girls of course. The more I read of the first item, the more it appeared as a Lonely Planet guide, with case histories thrown in for emphasis and good measure, with the main one being a bar girl called Pom, who plays all the tricks on her British beau to relieve him of his money, from phony courses to improve herself, complete with photographs to “prove” how well she was doing with his money, other than the course did not exist and the money went on her Thai boyfriend’s gambling debts (and hers).
The drug trade is covered in a few very short stories, relying on the use of ya ba by the bar girls, with drug taking being endemic. Foreign Police Volunteers are also shown as being stooges for the Thai police, but their version of law keeping includes entrapment, not allowed in many countries, but anything goes in Thailand, it would seem.
Cobra Gold gets a mention, and the history of the Americans coming to Pattaya for R&R is repeated, complete with the assertion that the modern sex industry in Thailand stems from there. This is a fallacy, as the sex industry for indigenous Thais far outweighs that catering for the farang visitors, but the American connection has become repeated so often it is now looked upon as fact. A small slip, in what is otherwise quite a well researched book. The chapter on the American presence during Cobra Gold does not show the visitors in a very good light, but life in the bars is not all champagne and roses.
Most of the items do stem from the lifestyles in the bar area of Pattaya, Walking Street in particular, which I must admit I found rather repetitive. It is no Private Dancer (Stephen Leather) for example, but if you are looking for short stories of the same genre, then perhaps Matt Carrell’s “Thai Lottery” is for you. If nothing else, by the time you have finished it you will have a much better knowledge of the mind of the bar girls, but that does not mean a better understanding!
The book is available through Amazon, or you can contact the author directly via email [email protected]