Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Asia Hand (Vincent Calvino Series #2) based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Favorite sentence from the book would have to be "Bangkok's not Brooklyn, Vinnie," said Kiko, ... "And respect is the first thing you give up living here." Mr. Moore should be required reading for any Thailand expat needing a visa extension beyond 60 days. Asia Hand is the second in the popular Vincent Calvino P.I. crime series. The first half of the book I thought had some really good writing. I was prepared not to like when I got to the Hollywood Treatment by Vinnie at the 1/2 way point but that actually worked for me and reinforced the plot lines. I liked the plot and didn't think it was particularly difficult or easy to follow. You had to pay attention. I like the little things about Christopher Moore's writing style and following a Raymond Chandler 1950's book it made the evolution of crime fiction writing apparent. I doubt Chandler would ever have a chapter like THIRD SHIFT, which highlights the misfits found in Bangkok brilliantly. And who doesn't have a little misfit in them? Chandler paints external pictures well; Mr Moore paints internal pictures well. I prefer internal assessments. An example is his brief but brilliant treatment of the triumvirate of all sexual relationships: commitment, passion and trust. I liked that a lot. It was dark, believable, nicely interwoven and full of bad guys. The ending I enjoyed. I am a sucker for a Buddhist moral so that worked for me and I thought Moore did a great job of painting the personality of Vinnie's 13 year old daughter, visiting Bangkok with his ex-wife. Vincent describing a truck load of Thai peasant labor to her also stands out as to why Moore is one of only a handful of authors who have the Thailand expertise to write about the various layers of complex Thai society. The whole insider's Hollywood scene I actually liked and learned from, unlike the reviewer who gave this book a 1 star rating. Different strokes for different folks as we say in Thailand. Start out with Spirit House by Moore then go from there. A Killing Smile is also a good read about Bangkok expat life. Pattaya 24/7 and 9 Gold Bullets were also good.
In this 1993 novel, our hero, detective Vinnie Calvino, says that he gives himself, at best, another 20 years. After all, his is a dangerous profession, especially in Bangkok. But if we have to wait 17 years for the novels, then Vinnie will be long dead before we read about is last exploits. Sad, huh? Asia Hand is full of typos and other language mistakes, the characters enter the most improbable of relationships, yet I give it four stars. Why? Because it has charm in abundance. You cannot help but like the good guys in the novel, nor can you hate Bangkok even given its numerous faults- and improbable relationships. The city is alive if nothing else, and Asia Hand entertains despite its faults. And making us wait 17 years is definitely a fault!