In post-tsunami Thailand, the search for a missing American runs afoul of a local gangster.
For more than a decade, Desert Storm vet Mark Rohr has lived a hardscrabble nomad’s life, using both brawn and brains to get along. While working as a bartender in remote Phuket City, he’s approached by Robin Antonucci, a beautiful American, with an unexpected offer. She wants help finding her brother Shawn, who’s been missing since the tsunami. Needing the money, attracted to Robin and figuring that she’ll give up after a short, fruitless search, Mark agrees. His hope of an easy job is dashed by several people who report having seen Shawn recently, though their recollections vary wildly (one even claims that Shawn lived much of his life as a woman). Things may be looking up for Mark and Robin when, at a bar called The Horny Monkey, they meet Pim, a lovely woman who claims to be Shawn’s wife and offers to help them. Unfortunately, she brings unforeseen trouble in the person of Jarin, a Thai crime lord who has no qualms about cutting down anyone in his path. Chapters from his perspective counterpoint the main narrative, in which Mark finds a Canadian pair named Fiona and Andy who accuse Shawn of cheating them. Might this be a motive for murder?
A tense and efficient cat-and-mouse mystery from Benoit (Relative Danger, 2004, etc.), with liberal doses of exotic local color.