A Thai beach holiday turns into a disaster for gap year students Emma and Rose in Blood Brothers Thai Style, a gripping Thailand-based thriller. This, the ninth book from prolific London novelist Matt Carrell, can be found on the cyber shelves of Amazon in both print and Kindle format.
Mafioso Deang and old man Gun have Thai resort town Ban Chailai all sewn up. Two of the guests are the expertly written characters Emma and Rose.
Matt Carrell does the near impossible for a male expat author writing in Thailand in this book– he writes scenes and casts them with women and the characters naturally converse with each other. Yes. They speak like real women do, naturally and with humor, they tease each other and share their personal histories, and we want to know more about them and, yes, we care when they become entwined with members of the island Mafioso.
The mainstream publishing industry tends to shun expat written fiction set here in Bangkok and Thailand because much of it is male pubescent look-mum-no-hands kind of fare.
Bargirl dramas, characters speaking like infantile Yodas and dudes cruising around town in sports cars solving crimes.
I’m guilty of writing a few of these types of novel myself, and yes they may be fun, but the fun might be over, times have changed and Carrell is on the curve.
In Blood Brothers, Matt Carrell breaks the usual mold and delivers a well written story accessible to most, but particularly for those who holiday, live, and work in Thailand. The most rewarding scenes are the conversations between Rose and Emma, and when one of the pair winds up dead on the beach, the score must be settled.
Enter police officer and Daengs’ blood brother Chatri, whose hands are tied right from the investigation’s beginning.
Rose is found raped and murdered on the beach, and so the media circus begins — much as it did in a similar real life case down South.
The world is watching international criminals nowadays, and although they may get away with crimes locally, the rest of the world are the real judging forces out there.
The recent case of the American school teacher who fell from a Krabian cliff while fleeing from a sexual predator is not just a fading news story, it is one of many stories Carrell draws on.
Local events such as these are stretched out, twisted into a knot, before wrung out to dry, and hung in the tropical sun.
Technically the narrative of Blood Brothers is straightforward and easy to consume, good beach reading material, unless your beach happens to resemble Ban Chailai…
The author is strongest when he has characters interacting and conversing. The eye follows the moving object and with this tale there are plenty of those to follow. Perhaps the author could draw us into the action using less distant viewpoints and old fashioned story-telling, but this is just a personal niggle.
Generally narrative plates are collectively spun, darts are fired and Carrell, like ringmasters of old, believes in the good old carny maxim — if you can’t ride a unicycle while juggling a few pins, it’s time to get out of the freaking circus.
The circus here is a media one: when enthusiastic blogger and wannabe journalist Rachael Clarke follows the story she sees it as her big break into the world of journalism. Career criminal Ling hits town looking to sell some stolen methamphetamine and finds himself tied up in this tropical saga too.
As with all Carrell’s books, things reach boiling point as the book propels to the finish, and the characters line up for the showdown in true Thailand style.
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