The allegations are true – Matt Carrell does have a good book in him. I cannot speak for Christopher Hitchens but I’ll go on record as stating it is a good thing that Matt Carrell chose to share this book with the world. This is my first read of a Carrell novel and that book is named Vortex. He may well have many others out there- I will find out soon enough as I plan to read more of this UK born author. Carrell reminds me a bit of early Stephen Leather with his confident non-nonchalant writing style. Carrell provides cultural expertise whether that applies to the corporate culture of Hong Kong high finance or Thai culture, politics and customs at all levels of society. The story starts off with an oddly likable character, Andy Duncan employed in an investment firm pulling an immoral financial play which quickly gets him his just due – a promotion. Carrell knows how to wheel and deal in the world of high finance and spins a good yarn while his characters are busy spinning straw into gold – sometimes for their clients, usually for themselves. At its core this story is about income redistribution – not that there is anything wrong with that – unless the Thai mafia, gangsters, hookers, actresses and periodic murders are involved, which they are. Carrell is creative with his murders; he’s not afraid to mix a sniff kiss with his blood – lots of blood. Good on him. If I have a quibble with his writing style it’s that his dialogue reports well but doesn’t always reveal. Carrell writes in a friendly, engaging manner – his office scenes are particularly good – but just as friends don’t always reveal themselves to their friends, I felt the same way about Carrell’s characters, at times. The office politics and after work scenes were spot on – the foibles are there but they could have run deeper. Carrell saves some of his best writing for the end, which has some great cinematic qualities as well as character revealing qualities, particularly the unflattering kind that avaricious men aspire toward. The Bangkok bar scene is more of a pleasant backdrop – this is a book that just as easily could have been set equally between Hong Kong and London but Thaiophiles should be plenty happy with the inclusions and expertise Carrell blends into this financial thriller.Lots of zeros, sex, politics, and murders to keep your attention along with your present day YouTube moment and drugs to boot. Carrel ties things up nicely at the end in a believable and lethal finale. A book about the high life with plenty of low life’s. I will definitely comb over Matt Carrell’s back list to go along with Vortex The End Game, which is next up on my reading list by this author.
As an aside I am pleased to announce that the Matt Carrell interview conducted at Thailand Footprint will be included in the eBook edition of Bangkok Beat, which will launch on August 8th, 2015 and be in subsequent paperback editions available from Amazon.com. In hindsight I realize it should have been included from the get go. One reason I believe I made this error of omission is that of all the interviews I had conducted the only interview of any author of fiction whose work I had not read was Jack Fielding and, let’s face it, the mop handle story of Nobby Tirpitz made Jack a fitting choice for the book. Now that I have read one of Matt’s novel’s and re-read his excellent interview, which you can read here – the inclusion of Matt’s interview in Bangkok Beat was an easy call to make.