I have always enjoyed Colin Cotterill’s books. He writes in such a way as to drag the reader into the plot, and makes the reader think of what is coming next, and how to circumvent the future problems, lurking on the next page!
The Axe Factor (ISBN 978-1-78087-698-6, Quercus Editions UK, 2013) features once more his quasi investigative journalist/PI Jimm Juree, the book being “her” story, told by “her” with the deprecating style of humor that makes Jimm so human and believable.
It is a detective novel, with plenty to keep Miss Jimm occupied, including finding a missing doctor, a missing wife, a missing father and a missing husband. And the same time working as an unpaid cook in the family holiday resort.
Jimm also makes some pocket money correcting the English that someone has attempted to translate from Thai language, and the header for each chapter has some examples of these, such as “Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar,” and “Please leave your values at the front desk,” and again “It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.”
To assist the ‘reality’ of the situations experienced by Jimm Juree, author Cotterill knows when to introduce such factual items as the Chiang Mai Mail which gets a mention with an editorial notice board where anyone can leave messages.
Cotterill is a long time ex-pat in Thailand and has had his eyes open. Describing the train travel to the South of Thailand where nobody arrives at the station on time – because the trains are always late. A five hour delay was a good day. The odd one that is on time leaves empty. “Bad scheduling made economic sense.” He “had hinted that (the policeman) might even be incorruptible, which was a bit like saying dolphins don’t necessarily need water.” (As I have mentioned before, we have the finest police force that money can buy!)
The book certainly gallops along at a brisk pace, while the reader will find him or herself keeping up the pace, to find what is happening next, to the sound of pages turning.
Jimm has a large family with a katoey sister who is an IT expert, a brother who is somewhat soft, a mother in early stage Alzheimer’s Disease, a strange father and an even stranger grandfather. However, she puts up with them all because, in the Thai way, they are “family” and must be protected.
Added in to the plot is an all-pervading Big Business which Jimm uncovers and dissects out and sees just what “sponsorship” can do to the ethics of professionals.
Writers are at the mercy of the distributors, and while this was a good read, in the old fashioned sense, to be on Bookazine shelves at B. 685 is pricing Cotterill out of the marketplace. With many international fiction writers having their books on the same shelves for B. 450, it takes a confirmed Cotterill fan to sport the extra B. 235. I did enjoy the book, and I am sure lovers of who-dunnits will revel in The Axe Factor.