Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
This is a fast paced spy thriller and, for me, a disturbing read. Within the first few pages seven people have been killed as ‘collateral damage’ to enable Martin Ritter, a conflict photographer, to fake his own death and start a new life for himself. That’s just a taste of things to come, so if murder, torture, mutilation and more abhorrent behaviour isn’t what you enjoy reading about, give this a miss – you have been warned!
This is the third story in the Detective Maier series but, as I haven’t read either of the previous books, I can honestly say that it can be read as a standalone. There are references to traumatic events from the previous story that have inflicted psychological damage on him – but nothing quite like will happen in this story, I hope! When the widow of Martin Ritter contacts the detectives claiming her husband has been seen in Bangkok, Maier travels to Thailand to ascertain if he really is still alive. This is the trigger for a horrific adventure, taking on the CIA, terrorists and becoming the target for those determined to suppress information of their torture of suspected terrorists.
This is a fast paced, action packed story that will definitely appeal to some people. For me the gratuitous violence, an integral part of the story, made it a difficult read. The author is very talented at bringing it all to life, not something that I necessarily appreciate given the nature of events but that others will find enthralling. It is a story of fighting to uncover the truth, however horrendous that might be, and endeavouring to bring to justice the perpetrators – or to eliminate them to protect others. It is frightening to consider that any such actions really are occurring in the world but no doubt they are and we all have to hope that there are real life folk prepared to put their lives on the line to bring them to a halt.
I requested and was gifted a copy of this book and this review is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder
The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.
When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.
As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.
Tom Vater has published four crime novels and is the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint. He writes for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, CNN and The Nikkei Asian Review. He is a best-selling non-fiction writer and co-author of the highly acclaimed Sacred Skin (www.sacredskinthailand.com).
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