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THE BIG MANGO [Kindle Edition]

Jake Needham
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99

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Book Description

"THE BIG MANGO is a full-blown work. There's no room for improvement. It's as good as it gets." --The Bangkok Post

From the Big Apple, to the Big Orange, to the Big Mango. It does have a kind of nutty logic to it. Bangkok is about as far as Eddie Dare can go without falling off the edge of the world, although at times Eddie wonders if that isn't exactly what he has done.

$400,000,000 is in the wind, the result of a bungled CIA operation to grab the Bank of Vietnam's currency reserves when the Americans fled Saigon in 1975. A few decades later, the word on the street is that all that money somehow ended up in Bangkok and a downwardly mobile lawyer from San Francisco named Eddie Dare is the only guy who can find it.

The problem is, Eddie knows nothing at all about the missing money. At least he doesn't think he does. But so many other people believe he's got an inside track that he and his old marine buddy Winnebago Jones figure it's worth a shot to head for Bangkok and try their luck.

But first Eddie and Winnebago have to battle the jagged netherworld of modern-day Thailand - a corkscrewed realm where big-time dealers tango with small-time hustlers, criminals on the lam mingle with politicians on the take, and the merely raffish jostle with the downright scary for center stage in the big leagues of weird.

If they can overcome all that - as well as outmaneuver a freelancing CIA man, a pack of angry Secret Service agents, and a ruthless Vietnamese intelligence woman - maybe they can find out what really happened back in Saigon all those years ago.

And where those ten tons of money are.

Editorial Reviews


"The most delightful improbabilities are artfully woven together to form the plot of THE BIG MANGO. This witty, inventive, and most of all thrilling thriller is ... [a] heady, bloody, luxurious, sordid fictional romp."   -- The Nation (Thailand)

"Fans of such thriller writers as Leonard Elmore and Carl Hiaasen  will find lots to like here: wise-cracking crooks, tough broads, nefarious government agents, an ordinary Joe out of his depth, plot twists, and scenery with character."   -- The Asian Review of Books

"THE BIG MANGO is a full-blown work. There's no room for improvement. It's as good as it gets."    -- The Bangkok Post

About the Author

JAKE NEEDHAM is an American screen and television writer who began writing legal and spy thrillers when he realized he didn't really like movies and television very much.

Mr. Needham has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand for nearly twenty-five years. He is a lawyer by education and has held a number of significant positions in both the public and private sectors where he took part in a lengthy list of international operations he has absolutely no intention of telling you anything about. He, his wife, and their two sons now divide their time between homes in Bangkok and New York.

You can learn more about Jake Needham at his official website:

Product Details

  • File Size: 1942 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Half Penny Ltd (Hong Kong) (January 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006CSC1BU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,756 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I always like to use the highlighting feature when I read books on Kindle, but quickly stopped doing so as I read this book. Why? Because I found myself highlighting entire pages and soon decided I was better off just reading the book and enjoying every line of it. Everything you expect from an international thriller is there. Shadowy government figures, femme fatales, hit men, and con men are each rendered masterfully. What sets this novel apart and places it on my list of my favorites is the evocative and spot on accuracy in passages describing the settings of two of my favorite cities, San Francisco and Bangkok. I've lived in both places off and on over the years and often seek out literature that is set in each. Though The Big Mango was written a few years back the rhythm, beauty and odd characters that dwell in each place are rendered in such a manner and without cliché that the descriptions are as accurate and thought-provoking today as when they were written. Needham captures the very pulse of each city.

Perhaps the element I enjoyed the most was the humor. Quite simply this book is at times hilarious. Even in dire circumstances Jake is able to give scenes a touch of levity such as the following passage. "All he had to do was squint slightly and he might have been back in San Francisco wheeling into the Bayshore Freeway from the Van Ness onramp and heading toward San Jose. On the other hand, if he had been in San Francisco, he seriously doubted he would be hanging onto the back of a Suzuki driven by a middle-aged Thai whore who had just used a sawed off shotgun to rescue him from two heavily armed Chinese thugs."

Passages like this kept me chuckling and eager to know what happens next.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain movie material April 26, 2011
By Q
Imagine fried grasshoppers for breakfast, eaten at your leisure whilst sitting on a stool at a busy street stall. Imagine oppressive heat and humidity, the sweat pouring down your back; as you look across the street from the stall and can see nothing but car hoods and metal shimmering in the blue smoke heat haze. Imagine the noise,the hustle and bustle all around you; and this is only breakfast!
Welcome to Bangkok! where nothing is as it first appears.
This is where Jake Needham drops you in The Big Mango as the character Eddie Dare, a lawyer from San Francisco whose life is rather droll following a marriage break up; who least expected to be going back to Bangkok; a place he had been once long ago.
You are on the trail of gold bullion and currency once the property of the Bank of Vietnam that was airlifted out of Saigon in those final days of terror back in 1975. The gold however has disappeared, even though it was carefully loaded onto planes by marines that were just doing their job; a job where you also formed part of the guard detail assigned to the evacuation. A slight problem exists however,the airlift bound for Bangkok seems to have been lost in transit; everyone assumes you know where it is; except you don't.
Hooked? I was! A few chapters in and I knew this book was one of the type that needs its own shelf!
Its full of details that allow you to immerse yourself into a good "brain movie" that quickly becomes so engrossing you simply cannot hit the pause button.
Grab some popcorn and a stiff cold drink [tequila works for me] slide into a soft chair and go cover to cover.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Mango Is The Best Meal! July 24, 2003
It's been some time since I first read this fantastic novel by Jake Needham in 1999 so now I'm going to review this incredible piece of literary artwork.
The Big Mango immdediately reveals Mr.Needham's massive understanding of Bangkok, how life operates there on a daily basis and Thailand in general.This story is lovable because it combines action-adventure with wit,intelligence and humor. Likewise,the characters are enjoyable to stay with because they are realistic individuals with much-more-than-average characterization.
The story starts with an interesting theory at the end of the Vietnam War and speeds along at light-speed to the present where the main character,Eddie Dare,finds himself sucked from a so-so existance in San Francisco to a return to Southeast Asia where questionable theories, lies and outright danger await him at nearly every step he takes on the traffic-clogged streets and sois of the Big Mango, Bangkok herself.
Jake Needham is typical of the magnificent breed of expat authors in Thailand who have a master's touch in explaining how life flows throughout 21st Century Siam and making you, the reader,want more and more of their writing as you tear from one page to the next.I can't reccomend this book enough times!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just enjoy it and don't worry too much January 8, 2004
Oh my. I see by the review right below that the humorless thought police are around here somewhere and hard at work. Despite what the reviewer below had to say, I've got to tell you that THE BIG MANGO is anything other than a lame example of a genre in which no one has any interest. It is actually a clever, witty, and sophisticated ride through a couple of cultures that most of us will never have the pleasure of exploring other than through books. Dressed up as a search for millions of dollars in currency that went missing during the fall of Saigon in 1975, it is actually the story of a loveable, middle-aged schlep who finds a way to make his life exciting and wonderful again. Needham spins a delightful tale that will have you reading out loud to the guy in the next airplane seat, and what more can you ask of a book than that. Still, if you've got no sense of humor at all, it may not be your cup of tea. As you can easily see right below.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, troubling
Just found this one (actually I heard about it). Funny, troubling, and all too real. Thailand is really like this, and I can't wait to go back.
Published 6 days ago by Staton R Winter
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of juice
Action packed and fun. I enjoyed every bit.
Published 1 month ago by Cliente Amazon
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Nice book but then ending was too abrupt and the author leaves unresolved issues with the protagonist's son.
Published 4 months ago by Michael Crisfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Good plot
Good plot, good read
Published 4 months ago by Mark Peters
5.0 out of 5 stars Buckle your seat belts!
"The Big Mango" is my second Jake Needham novel, the first being "Killing Plato" (which I also rated 5-star). Read more
Published 6 months ago by Randall Reneau
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Loved this book; fast read and kept my interest. It was hard to put down when I went to bed>
Published 6 months ago by Patricia McFerren
5.0 out of 5 stars The Big Mango is the whole enchilada.
The bad guys lose, the good guys win and there is a whole lot of mystery and excitement in between. I fell in love with Eddie and Winnebago right from the beginning. Read more
Published 7 months ago by fergiec
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Elements, Characters
Enjoyed this book immensely! Storyline from California to Thailand. The characters are great and very individualistic, which makes for a Fun read, too. Read more
Published 8 months ago by EYESMILE
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly and Delightfully Entertaining
Needham's first novel is a real grabber right from the start. Let it take you far away to his trademark exotic backdrops in pursuit of all that money and be totally entertained... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Cate Riley
3.0 out of 5 stars As a start for a writer a fair novel
While the Jack Shepherd novels are really funny, fast written and offer the right amount of suspense... this here does not. None of it. Read more
Published 12 months ago by ThreeLions
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More About the Author

JAKE NEEDHAM is an American screen and television writer who began writing crime novels and legal thrillers when he realized he really didn't like movies and television very much.

He is a lawyer by education and held a number of significant positions in both the public and private sectors where he took part in a lengthy list of international operations he has absolutely no intention of telling you about. Then, somehow, he became a screenwriter following a series of accidents and coincidences too ridiculous to be believed.

Mr. Needham has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand for over twenty-five years. He, his wife, and their two sons now divide their time between homes in Thailand and the United States.

You can read excerpts from all Jake Needham's books as well as his occasional 'Letters from Asia' at his web site:


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