I usually stick with Christopher G. Moore’s Bangkok based fiction. This time he took me to unfamiliar territory: Cambodia at the end of the Pol Pot era, as a country attempts to transition from atrocities and civil war. I am glad I went along for the ride. Moore blends history, colorful characters, current events and descriptive narrative among the best of the Asian thriller and crime fiction writers. While ZERO HOUR was written a few years back the story-line and back story hold up well today and many need to be told and re-told. One story has been back in the news lately- an unresolved jewel theft by a Thai national of a Saudi Prince and the subsequent real life murders that remain a political embarrassment, as well as a real life mystery that fictional detective Vincent Calvino could probably solve in two weeks time. I like Moore’s writing on a number of levels, mostly because he helps me know characters I would like to meet – Colonel Prat and Calvino being just two – as well as enabling me to get to know places and people I prefer to avoid, but in the comfort of my home I find them all a pleasure. Moore does a great job in Zero Hour of depicting two places I hope to never be – a seedy lakeside brothel, which doubles as a murder scene and the inside of a real life Cambodian prison, where life is not just cheap to some it’s worthless. Moore seeks out societies at crossroads and he finds one in Cambodia, but in the process he tells the reader a ripper of a yarn with the added bonus of making us realize how unlucky some people are or conversely how lucky we are. Also worth reading is his Phnom Penh Noir anthology, published just recently – a series of short stories, many of them dealing with the inhumanity of the Pol Pot era.