Blood Brothers... Thai Style by Matt Carrell
|Blood Brothers... Thai Style by Matt Carrell|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A fast-paced look at the beach scene on the Gulf of Thailand and what happens when the police are manipulated by local businessmen. There's a twist at the end which I definitely wasn't expecting. Recommended. Matt Carrell popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us about the book.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 174||Date: September 2015|
|External links: Author's website|
Chatri Aromanadee and Daeng Khasajamsarun are friends, but in a rather unequal way. Daeng very much has the upper hand despite the fact that Chatri is a policeman: Daeng is manipulative and it's difficult to be polite enough to say that he 'sails close to the wind'. The man is a criminal, but he turned a problem of his own (and of his own making) into a hold over Chatri, which still holds firm even when Chatri becomes the chief of police in Baan Chailai, with its lively bar scene, on the Gulf of Thailand. Their sons have a similar relationship: Daeng's son Tong is brutal in his relationships with women and Chatri's son Sunan has the misfortune to work in the hotel complex owned by Daeng.
Two more friends were in Baan Chailai. Emma Talbot and Rose McDermott were on the final part of an Asian backpacking trip, with the new university term just a few weeks away. They're not staying at the expensive hotel complex, but somewhere rather more basic next door. Emma's the typical party girl, seeing sex as good healthy fun and being more than happy to play the local men at their own games. Rose is quieter; with a steady boyfriend at home, sex was not the reason she came on the trip. Whilst the two girls were very different, it's still a reasonably good friendship, but the end of the holiday would not be what either girl was expecting.
I first encountered Matt Carrell when I read Vortex and I was impressed then by the way that he delivered Thailand to us and by his tightrope walking of that fine line between condemning and condoning what happens in some of the darker corners of Thai society, whilst still managing to convey what happens when principles are flexible. There are the same finely-balanced nuances in the relationship between Daeng and Chatri and it was easy to see why the relationship was as unbalanced as it was - but still persisted. In much the same way it was obvious why Emma and Rose were sufficiently friendly to go backpacking together - but still had very different moral values. Carrell is a master at bringing relationships off the page and creating volatile situations.
The story is good. This is tourist country and the last thing that any area wants is a murder which is going to make headlines in the areas from which the tourists come. (You're probably thinking of the same real, tragic case as me.) Someone has to be blamed - and quickly. If that means the death sentence, then so be it: the punters will believe that the threat has disappeared. But the world's media knows this too - and they're speculating that an illegal immigrant or two will be blamed for the murder, whether or not any evidence to support the accusation exists. That sort of problem can easily be rectified.
In a country which doesn't discourage sex tourism there's going to be a seedy underbelly and Carrell paints it perfectly. There's an attitude to women which veers from veneration to abuse - and neither extreme is healthy. It's telling about the strength of the story that I was left feeling very uneasy about the fate of women in Thai society, but I'd still like to thank the publisher for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag.
Carrell is great on this side of Thai society but he's on his own ground when he writes about the financial markets in Thailand. Have a look at Vortex and you'll see what I mean.
Matt Carrell about Blood Brothers... Thai Style was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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