Jim Newport is a writer with great skills in describing non-stop, hold your breath action, and his latest book The Siamese Connection (ISBN 978-616-90861-0-9, Willat Publishing, 2011) has plenty of action, to make it a true thriller. Add in the fact that the principal character in the book is a 175 year old vampire Ramonne Delacroix, and you have the fear factor that vampires engender.
This is the fourth book in the Vampire of Siam series, and of course, with vampires that have always been notoriously difficult to kill, you can always bring the anti-hero back again for another book.
A quick internet search will turn up methods to kill your vampire including fire a silver bullet blessed by a priest into his heart and drive an aspen, ash or white thorn stake through his heart with a single blow. However, this will not work in the case of Ramonne Delacroix, as author Newport states categorically that his vampire has no heart at all, but there is a pump elsewhere in his body that circulates his vampire food.
Newport writes in the cinematic flashback style, which sits well with his own background in the visual media; however, I must admit that when reading this book I was getting confused as to what time scale I was in. With visual stimuli it is easier to identify the era, without them, it can be difficult.
In this particular vampire tale, Ramonne becomes involved in a post WWII Japanese secret society, whose operatives become entangled with the American OSS, which later becomes the CIA. Naturally the ‘good guys’ are the Americans, aided and abetted by the vampire, who pulls the Americans out of the fire many times. (In fact it would appear that the CIA need Ramonne right now.)
Plenty of side sub-plots with an American sweating on the results of an IVF pregnancy, a Thai lady for whom Ramonne had returned to normal living after a period as a vampire, and even Ramonne himself flirting with normal life and enjoying the odd daytime excursion, something he had not been able to do for around 150 years, and a love tryst between two OSS members.
As the excitement mounts, the full-scale war between the enemy and the good guys escalates, but with the added problem that the other side wouldn’t stay dead and kept on popping up again. Throw in a crooked Thai senior policeman and go on from there.
Newport has mastered the art of ‘faction’ in his books (Chasing Jimi, his book on Jimi Hendrix being a good example) and uses the ploy of describing actual places and persons to lend an air of authenticity to the plot. The usual disclaimer is in the front of the book, with references to people and places living or dead, but this is totally ignored when you use people such as Jim Thompson, the silk king and Kurt Wachtveitel (ex GM of the Oriental Hotel) in the plot.
At B. 590 in Asia Books/Bookazine it is a captivating read for those of ghoulish inclination. Me? I prefer my villains with the heads on.