Chiang Mai Mail : Bangkok Dick

by Lang Reid

It was almost another first for the Chiangmai Mail. Getting on the front cover of David Young’s latest book, Bangkok Dick, with the quote “This author can write, which can sometimes be novel for those writing books in this country!” It was something I had written a couple of years ago, so I was a little worried that if I didn’t like this book, I might lose face. (I didn’t.)

Bangkok Dick (Hostage Press International ISBN 974-93710-9-7, 2006) is a work of fiction starring Dick Reilly, a Bangkok-based Private Investigator. The format of the book is straightforward. An introductory section putting hero Reilly in time and space and introducing his clients, a middle section containing the expected action, and a final slice of the book tying up all the lose ends and letting some surprises out of the bag. In this, author Young does not disappoint. His hero, Dick Reilly is modeled after many generations of PI’ s doing the job, but yet having a conscience, despite it all.

If you wanted a PI thriller, you get one, complete with all the fast turn of phrase that PI’s are supposed to have. Describing a group of people who have come to Bangkok for a sex tour, he writes, “They were the kind of people you wanted to feel sorry for, but would rather chase off with a stick. The kind of humanity that made a bad name for the rest of us.”

Dick Reilly, like the archetypal PI relies on his instincts, “Only my instincts were right. My instincts were always right. Whether this was a gift or a curse, I’ve yet to decide.”

Based in Bangkok, the author gives enough of the local color to lend some credibility to the tale, no matter how tall at times. In a hurry, he takes a taxi motorcy, “I took a motorcycle taxi all the way from Makasaan to Chatuchak. It was a long terrifying ride that reminded me why I don’t take motorcycle taxis any more. My driver was a real cowboy who darted in and out of traffic like he was playing a video game. Still he got me there.”

The plot, like the taxi, takes many twists and turns, and author Young introduces characters who all have a definitive part to play in the action, even though initially the connection is kept well hidden. The denouement is fast paced and does not let up for many pages, during which time you will swear at anyone or thing that diverts your attention. It was certainly a good read.

At B. 395 this Hostage Press publication dies not cost a ransom. Author David Young has crafted an interesting enough story to make you want to continue reading about the exploits of his Bangkok Dick (PI in polite circles) Dick Reilly. There are at least two more books that should come from this one. Dick Reilly, PI, is one of those characters with more tricks than a magician at a five year old’s party. He’ll be back. Just remember to put me on the front cover next time, David Young, not the newspaper!

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