For the first time ever I read Bangkok Beat as the paperback book it now is. I read it from cover to cover in two sittings. That surprised me. I thought it would be the type of book you can skip around in – it is, but I didn’t and it reads well, cover to cover. I could be biased.
Here is a list of what I liked about Bangkok Beat:
1. The cover. I cannot say it too many times. It’s brilliant. The idea was mine but the talent is all Cotterill. A shout out to whoever did the cover art for Bangkok Days by Lawrence Osborne. I sent it along to Colin with the instruction: “I want it to be like this, only different, with the Checkinn99 sign in the center.” Chris Catto-Smith and his wife Mook can be seen in the tunnel entrance. I like that too.
2. The introduction by James A. Newman. Originally posted by Jim on his Facebook wall, I told him that’s too good not to share. So I asked him if I could use it for Bangkok Beat and he agreed. Thanks.
3. The opening story, Take Me There, about me meeting Timothy Hallinan for the first time at Hemingway’s Bangkok and later introducing him to Checkinn99, James Newman and my unsuccessful attempt to introduce him to Chris Catto-Smith on Blues brothers Night
4. The two stories about writing: I Am Not A Writer and What is a Writer? They’ve been posted on my blog before but I enjoyed reading them again and I hope readers of the book will too.
5. The Checkinn99 History. Fun to read. As one reader has already told me, “You could have done an entire book on the Checkinn99 Story.” Somebody could and should, but it wont be me.
6. The Beauty of Isaan a short true story by T Hunt Locke. Good writing. Good story. Thanks, Thom. The Crystal Head vodka is on me next time you’re in the Big Weird.
7. The Verse of John Gartland. It’s a chapter of damn fine poetry by a damn fine poet. I cannot imagine Bangkok Beat without it.
8. The interviews: Cara Black, Jerry Hopkins, James A. Newman, Melissa Ray, Eric Nelson, Christopher Minko, Jim Algie, Malcolm-Gault Williams, Thomas Hunt Locke, Simon Palmer, Matt Carrell, (Ebook edition and 2nd edition of paperback) Tom Vater, John Burdett, Colin Cotterill and Jack Fielding. All in one place. What’s not to like?
9. The personalities; Mook the smiling waitress, the artist Chris Coles, Blake Cheetah, trumpet player Steve Cannon, saxophone player William Wait, the eulogy for my old friend Dick, Muay Ying Melissa Ray and Muay Thai Hot Chili Ntg, Colin Piprell, Dean Barrett, Khmer band KROM, Chaska Potter of Jason Mraz and Raining Jane fame, my taxi driver Mr Khemsak, Chedly Sahebettaba (AKA Doc Penguin) the cartoons of Gop the Frog in the Coconut Shell, fictional Private Investigator Joe Dylan, and the spirits of Stirling Silliphant and Henry Miller, to name just some.
10. The photographs – 54 of them – all in black and white. many by professional photographers Eric Nelson, Alasdair McLeod and Jonathan von Smit. Thank-you, guys. They make the book.
11. The art of Chris Coles. Talented as he is every one of his paintings and portaits in the book looks good in black and white, including my use of Spirit House for the Stirling Silliphant post, a personal favorite.
12. The ending. Voltaire does get it right most every time. I must read more of him.
So that’s my very biased book review of Bangkok Beat. I believe it is an entertaining book. I hope readers do too. A friend recently told me my book reviews tend to be on the positive side. He’s right. No reason to change now. Does it have errors? Yes, it does. We’ll fix them. Overall, I’m proud of Bangkok Beat. Now, to let that pride go.
Bangkok Beat is available as a paperback at many Amazon stores and as a pre-order eBook world-wide delivered on August 8th, 2015, just six weeks from now. I hope people consider it, especially you, Carl, up in Washington State. Anyone buying the paperback is eligible to receive the eBook for free under Amazon’s Match program. I won’t be bugging you too much. That’s worth something, right? Bangkok Beat may soon be available at Checknn99 located between Sukhumvit 5 and 7 in Bangkok, Thailand very soon.
Published by Frog in the Mirror Press
“Yea … that’s the ticket.” Jon Lovits
3 Responses to “Forget Henry and Gop for a bit. What I think of Bangkok Beat – A Book Review by Kevin Cummings”
Reblogged this on Alasdair McLeod and commented:
Bangkok Beat book review – a thorough run-down of what’s inside:
Off to the store!
Thanks, Carl. I hope you enjoy it. Poetry too!