Book Reviews

Skytrain to Murder

  • Author: Dean Barrett
  • Review by Stick
Book cover  by

Yet another Bangkok novel with the main character as a PI which threads itself in and out of the nightlife industry, one could be mistaken for thinking that Dean is copying Chris Moore's Calvino character.

As with so many PI stories, the story revolves around the murder of one of the characters and the main character, the PI, trying to unravel just what happened. Dean takes us through known parts of Bangkok and also into the unknown, the slums, the Thai boxing community and deep into a high class Thai naughty nightlife venue. It is obvious that Dean did his homework and included in the novel is plenty of detail and background on just how these places operate.

Knowing the author, I see so much of him in this book. Another author who I once asked for advice about writing novels told me that this is something to be avoided, but Dean writes in detail and with a real passion about all of the places where you see him around town, Washington Square and the mid Sukhumvit area around soi 33.

What I liked: Dean obviously loves Bangkok, Thailand and the Thais, and this shines through the book which has a really nice balance of nice writing, a good story and lots of interesting anecdotes and observations about life in the big city.

What I didn't like: Funnily enough, there is little I can say that I didn't like. There are one or two parts in the book that went on a little but with not much happening, but hey, that happens in every novel, doesn't it?

Overall: In many ways, this to me is what the Calvino novels should be. I really warmed to this book and it had the effect of distracting me from work and other things because I wanted to stop what I was doing and go and read it! There aren't many books I can say that about.