This comic crime fiction novel, set in Bangkok, has a hilarious beginning, which includes an unexpected swim in the Chao Phraya river, an ending that had me guessing wrong on a major “who done it” plot point and a middle chock-full of Thai cultural nuances that any expat living in Thailand will find useful today. KICKING DOGS is unlike any Bangkok based book which I have read and I have read a lot. Colorful characters, insightful prose and laugh out loud moments. My only critique is that the protagonist is a journalist, which is never my favorite choice and the book reads at times like a journal – heavy on narrative and light on dialogue. I prefer a balance – you may not care. Set in the boom times of the pre-economic crisis Thailand of the 1990’s, the story-line holds up well today.
It’s a bit of an odd couple story, with Jack the journalist and the City of Bangkok trying to figure out how to live with each other. Hot headed Jack having the tougher time making the needed adjustments.
The journey takes you up close and personal into the lives of two-bit hustlers and crooks who may have a second job working the third-shift as a bargain basement assassin. Also featured is your better than average despicable heavyweight champ of a villain, who goes by the name of Fat Fat. An intriguing, often comic look into the underbelly world of Thailand, where rank has its privilege and if you have no ranking you haven’t got much. Lessons to be learned are plentiful, the one that springs to mind is: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” A first-time read for me of author Collin Piprell. I would definitely seek out others. A fun, quick read at 240 pages.
Visit Collin Piprell, a man for the age at his excellent and entertaining website http://www.collinpiprell.com
Collin, who has also written under the pseudonym Ham Fiske, has written a number of other books including:
Yawn (a thriller) 2000
Bangkok Old Hand (1993, a collection of non-fiction essays)
Diving in Thailand (1993)
National Parks of Thailand (1991)
Thailand’s Coral Reefs (1993)
Thailand: The Kingdom Beneath the Sea (1991)
Collin has a futuristic novel completed. Look for publishing updates here and at his website.