Thailand Footprint: The People, Things, Literature, and Music of Thailand and the Region

Whether writing a book review is more art or science is a topic for another day. In today’s post I include actual book reviews, not written by me, about some of my favorite books. I have read and liked each and every one of the books listed below. I do not agree with the reviews. But everybody is entitled to their opinion. I don’t lose any sleep over these reviews. I doubt the authors do either. Being an author and getting 1 and 2 star reviews is like being a physician in the USA and being sued for malpractice. It isn’t a question of if. It’s only a question of when. Certain things in life you can always count on: one person’s quatro cinco is another’s acey  deucey. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Again, I did not write them. I hope that’s clear :o)

Bangkok 8

BANGKOK 8 by John Burdett

Why this book is listed as a mystery novel escapes me. It is in equal parts a Buddhist pamphlet, a dissertation on the excesses of western perversions and an uninteresting novel with very little mystery in it. I will give credit to the author for a couple of ideas that, if properly developed, may have been enough to form the basis for a mystery. But then he dilutes the story by exhalting the Buddhist philosophy and decrying the bad, bad, BAD influence of western culture, succeeding only in slowing the plot to an unacceptable crawl. Worse yet, instead of revealing clues here and there to give the reader the impression of participating in the solution of the crime, he uses the artificiality of having the Thai detective figuring it all out in his own mind. That way, nothing is revealed until everything is revealed. Perhaps to amend for this, the author tacks on a truly outlandish ending that is so ridiculous even its shock value is weak. The only real surprise to me was that American females are vilified almost as much as their male counterparts, a gross violation of political correctness. But it isn’t the message, or even the agenda that bothered me, it’s the lack of imagination. The author stereotypes, shoots at the usual targets, reinforces commonly held untruths about the military and the list goes on. I am thoroughly baffled by how many people expressed a positive opinion on this book.

Red Night Zone

RED NIGHT ZONE by James A. Newman (formerly released as Bangkok City)

Psychedelic seedy despair and deprivation. I think this was the only book I ever read a “sample” of and just had to get the whole book – only to find out my worst fears were realized (those that almost kept me from getting it since I suspected this….).

The short, terse sentences written in a Hunter Thompson Gonzo (on acid) descriptive style continues throughout the book. It was fun the firt three chapters then got extremely tedious. The convoluted relationships between all the main players felt contrived, too.

Mostly, I was left with feelings of despair and horror, but also head shaking how does this get five star review questions; I don’t want to actually provide spoilers but I expected someone somewhere to have a happy ever after-ish foreign style ending – why I don’t know. Maybe I just had to buy it to believe it because what you read in the narrator’s description of Bangkok – is exactly what you get.


A Killing Smile by Christopher G. Moore

This novel takes place almost exclusively in a Bangkok go-go bar…Well let’s be honest whorehouse. The central figure is an expat American who has lived in Bangkok (and this particular bar) for 20 some odd years.

There is a vague central plot, but most of the novel deals with stories about a series of Expats and their experiences in Bangkok.
I’ve been to Bangkok and I found this a dreadful book. It’s as if a group of people spend their entire adult life’s in a low-life LA bar and their only knowledge of the US is what they gained from a bunch of prostitutes.
I bought this book with the hope of learning about the expat experience living in Thailand.
Don’t bother.

CRASHED by Timothy Hallinan

CRASHED by Timothy Hallinan

So a hotshot radio book reviewer said this was a “MUST READ”. So I bought the book and read it.

This book is barely worth reading. The ‘set up’ is absurd. Beyond improbable, it edges over into unbelievable. My reaction? “Oh, come on…”

Plot is stupid: A crook, a burgler,who is blackmailed into ‘doing the right thing’, which also turns out to be criminal. Go figure.

The narrative is ragged, loses focus, there are no characters to like.

Here and there, he scores some very funny lines, but we’re talking pages and pages of narrative for an occasional laugh.

At moments when the plot is runing on empty, he drags in new characters to save the day. Or he comes up with a new skill, or pennys from heaven, or something that saves the day.

NOT WORTH YOUR TIME. OR MINE. Better you watch television.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This book sucks it makes no sense I had to get it for English and it was totally not worth it! Don’t buy

3 Responses to “One & Two Star Amazon Book Reviews Given to Some of My Favorite Books …”

  1. Kevin Cummings

    I am glad you are enjoying it, Carl. Sounds as if you’ll be giving it more than 1 or 2 stars. Out of curiosity, ebook or paperback?

  2. schn00dles

    So far I’ve always bought the cheapest paperback. So far they’ve always been of good quality, and I can’t relax appropriately when any technology is runnning – or I have to run it. 😦


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