Vortex... the Endgame by Matt Carrell
|Vortex... the Endgame by Matt Carrell|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A sequel which reads perfectly well as a standalone with nail-biting tension and an informed look at the way that Thailand really works. Definitely recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: November 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
In 2014 the financial markets were tumbling in Bangkok. The recession was deepening and unemployment figures were rising. The recession wasn't affecting all layers of society equally and in consequence the government was facing a financial and a social crisis. It would take little to spark street violence equal to that of 2010. But not everyone viewed the situation with dismay: this was exactly what Tanawat Chanpol had been hoping for. If all went according to plan - and it was planned - his employer, businessman Narong Sunarawani, would be brought to power by popular acclamation as the only man who could save the country. It would take months and a lot of hard work though.
Another strand of our story begins in Lisburn, Northern Ireland back in 1984 when a man and a boy died - the father murdered and his son collateral damage. It's hard to have sympathy with a killer but we'll warm to Harry Slater, serving army officer working undercover. Thirty years later we'll find that he hasn't really moved on from what happens, but he's lonely - and envious of a mate who's brought a rather gorgeous Thai wife home. Could this be the answer to his problems? A dating site based in Bangkok draws him in. Only it's not there to introduce men to real women, but to separate them from their money and the conditions for the girls who man the phones are not all that safe either. Bishop might have started out looking for female companionship, but he's going to end up in Bangkok with a transgender woman, a woman who's inhabited by the spirit of a lottery ticket seller - and an outdated gun.
It's a year since I read Vortex and I was surprised by the extent to which some of the characters had stayed with me, particularly Pom, the lottery ticket seller, so I was cheering loudly as Nok went all out to avenge her and to kill the man who had killed her sister. The story neatly highlights the situation of sex workers in Thailand: sometimes they're doing it because they have to earn money, not just for themselves, but for their families too. All too often they're in the industry because they've been forced - something which is now a global problem.
The profits from the sex industry as well as other criminal activities are what's funding Narong Sunarawani's bid for power. On the surface he's a reputable, honest businessman, a patriot, but the reality is far different: he's the head of a brutal crime syndicate. The tension ramps up as he chases power, whilst publicly giving the impression that he's backing away from it. I regularly read the news from Thailand and I found the story all too believable - but very enjoyable. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Vortex... the Endgame is a sequel, but it reads perfectly well as a standalone, but you will get more out of it if you've read Vortex first. And why deprive yourself of the pleasure? For more on Thailand from Matt Carrell we can recommend Blood Brothers... Thai Style.
You can read more book reviews or buy Vortex... the Endgame by Matt Carrell at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Vortex... the Endgame by Matt Carrell at Amazon.com.
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