A debut thriller that takes its reluctant Boston investigator deep into the heart of Bangkok, then deeper still.
After the cheating husband she’d asked ex-reporter Sebastian Damon to tail punches him out, insurance executive Dolores Moyle offers Sebastian a consolation prize of sorts: $7,500 plus expenses if he can prove that Linda Watts, the Laotian-born BankBoston vice president reported dead of an overdose in a tawdry Bangkok guesthouse, is still among the living. Dolores’ interest is in saving her firm half a million dollars; Sebastian’s interest is murkier, harder to pin down and constantly changing. He makes contact with his father’s old Army friend Sgt. Sam Honeyman, who knows every con artist and bar girl in town, and talks to Doug Brody, the fellow roomer who found Linda’s body, just a day before Brody also checks out. Clearly, there’s something funny about the case, and Sebastian’s exchanges with Col. Nagaphit, the high-ranking police official who came all the way from Thonglor station to investigate, do nothing to dispel his suspicions. There’ll be intrigue aplenty in Bangkok before Sebastian’s discoveries there send him into the villages of Laos, pursuing a goal poles from his original quest. Throughout it all, veteran journalist Cox’s first novel gradually and expertly turns up the heat, doling out the exotic details by careful teaspoons early on before plunging Sebastian into a world far from his comfort zone.
A debut thriller whose predominant tone, as its title suggests, is a profound sadness that no death, not even for an insurance company’s client, is a good death.