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Bangkok Buckaroo Paperback – August 15, 2016
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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About the Author
In 1988 Steve Rosse took a break from a career in the New York City film and television industry for a three-month holiday on Phuket, an island off the Western coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. He decided he liked Phuket more than he liked New York, and without any idea of what he'd do for a living, he took up residence on the island. He supported himself, and eventually his wife and children, for most of the next decade as a freelance journalist and columnistHis column, "The Rock", apeared in The Nation, Thailand's Independent Newspaper, every Sunday for five years. The stories in this book first appeared in publications around the Pacific Rim, from Honolulu to Christchurch.In 1997 he quit writing and moved to Iowa for the surfing.
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Top customer reviews
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Yes, there are enough kinky details to make John Burdett writhe with envy but they are balanced with glimpses of Bangkok and the wonderful, eccentric people who live there that may launch a whole new wave of tourism. Steve Rosse clearly knows the territory that he brings vividly to life in Bangkok Buckaroo. Entertaining his book certainly is, but it's also a fine introduction to a fascinating city for those who have never been there--and sheer delight for those who have. More, please, Mr. Rosse...
As expected from this author, the book contains loads of interesting, minutely observed insights on Thailand, its people, and culture.
Hewing to the hard-boiled genre he has chosen as his characters scrape across Bangkok's seamy, steamy underbelly, the writing sometimes takes on a hyped-up nature that can get a bit overwhelming. Everything seems to happen suddenly and loudly — although, it turns out, there is a reason why the hero's cellphone always "explodes" in his pocket rather than merely ringing.
But there are lots of great segments when you feel like you are walking right alongside his detective hero through a dark, rainy Bangkok.
A fluent Thai speaker himself, Steve also continues to have the distinctive (and endearing) trait of translating his characters' Thai conversations, word by word, into some of the oddest English you've ever seen. "I cannot do that, Big Sister Vagina, with respect."
The dark, intensely complicated story also features a terrifying, uh, climax that is absolutely guaranteed to make you cringe.
My advice? Give "Bangkok Buckaroo" a shot, whether you like detective stories or not. And, while you're at it, check out some of the other deserving works from this interesting writer's library.
I recommend you cough up a few bucks and take a ride through that crazy city by the Chao Praya River.
Maybe this is a detective novel. There certainly are a few murders, and Joe DiMaggio, the Texan who walks and rides around Bankok in cowboy boots, does get hired to investigate them. His run ins with Thai bigwigs, Thai cops, Danish gurus and Russian pimps (plus a surprise or two) all seem to get him closer to the mystery of the farang men (Angus Moony and Denver Bob) who die, so to speak, with smiles on their faces, and their throats cut.
The scene setting is marvelous- Joe's apartment, and Wide Wally's cowboy bar, in particular, seem at once exotic and homey. Each chapter ends with a broader reflection about Thai history or Buddhism, but these are never heavy handed. I especially liked the musings on the value of a dime.
The author e-mailed me a final draft of the book, hoping I would catch any errors, but he was much closer to publication than I thought. Don't change a thing, Steve!! (heh)- and thanks for inviting me to read it.
The book was fun to read, with quite a few jokes, as well as some serious reflections. I hope Joe DiMaggio returns.