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Lost Innocence (Tales From the Land of Smiles) (Volume 1) Paperback – August 6, 2014
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Michael fights for his freedom, while John, resigned to his fate, wants only to regain his dignity. Michael's grandfather, a once brilliant lawyer, is brought out of retirement and flies to Bangkok to fight a case in a city where justice is bought and sold to the highest bidder and corruption is the oil that greases the wheels in the Land of Smiles. Running out of time and unable to find the only witness, he searches for another way to succeed in what seems a hopeless case. Meanwhile, in order to survive the most appalling conditions in jail, Michael and John must make the best of a dire situation as they wait for their separate fates to be decided. Will justice be served or will they see out the next ten years in that hell-hole of a prison?
This book is a must read for anyone thinking about taking risks in the Land of Smiles. Think twice.
I must say after agreeing to review this book, I was intrigued by the synopsis. Once I read the book, I can say, the synopsis does not capture the horrific conditions portrayed within the book. I am not saying the synopsis isn't good. It is, but in order to feel Michael's pain, to know he's innocent of charges, but must pay to get out of the hell he's in because a corrupt official wants money, doesn't begin to show what Michael endures.
Michael is finally persuaded to contact his parents over his situation, and his father, Stan, a lawyer, arrives in Bangkok to bail Michael out. This is the first time we see get an in-depth look at Michael's father. He comes up short. Are all lawyers self-serving bastards that put their needs before their family? I don't think so. But still, I wondered what kind of man would arrive in a city where his son is in prison and he doesn't make the effort to immediately see him. Michael's father is weak. But, Palmer writes him as a weak character to
explore the seedy side of Bangkok.
Michael's grandfather, a retired lawyer, now must travel to Bangkok to free Michael. The man is one heart attack away from death, but his family comes first. Michael's grandfather isn't one to just pay the fine, and get out. Yes, he wants his grandson out of prison, but he also needs to know the whole story. And what unfolds, reveals the corruption rife within the justice system in Bangkok.
Once Michael's grandfather arrives in Bangkok, the story takes off. There's lots of action. We see the story from the grandfathers POV as he investigates the madam who Michael paid to allow him to draw prostitutes. Which leads him to sex brothels posing as massage parlors. He confronts the girl's friends and family, the girl who accused Michael of rape, and we find these girls owe the chief Inspector money. Michael's grandfather hires a private investigator who promptly gets shot over the situation, but his "girlfriend", a woman who knows first hand the atrocities these women suffer, and whom has been taught how to defend herself by the private investigator now has the chief inspector in her sights. She means to kill him.
Interspersed within the action we see Michael as he and John wade through the corruption of guards, the system that allows officials to push back their case every 12 days while prisoners live in substandard conditions. Rotting food, bugs, no beds, blankets, no facilities to relieve themselves, and with dirty water and no soap to wash.
As I read, the story it was perfectly clear that Michael is innocent. His friend, John, however, is not. I questioned why Palmer would bring in a character like John. But, the reader needs to know the innocent as well as the guilty suffer the same fate.
I wish I could say the situation Michael faces is just fictional. It's not. The story is based on what men and women suffer at the hands of Bangkok's police. And, I'd love to reveal more, but that would spoil it for you. So, let me say. This is a must read.
I was given a copy of this book to review. After I reviewed the book, I purchased a copy.
This author knows how to write scenes that become complete pictures in your mind. I felt every creepy crawly slithering across the floor and up the characters limbs, I cringed at the terrible living and health conditions.
The characters were wrote in explicit detail and I could relate to them all. I felt the despair and utter fatigue in Michael as he fought to survive in such conditions. Michael is a honorable man and I commend him on his crusade to persevere the injustice of wrongful misdeeds.
I will continue on to see if these heroes will save the day and bring the downfall to the political corruption in this action packed story.
Thank You Simon Palmer!
The elements of irony and contrast are richly blended into Palmer’s narrative. The author captures the essence of the Oriental philosophy as the Thais prove to be both fatalistic and detached in matters of life and death. It clashes with the Europeans’ core values as they are appalled by the indigenous attitude of both the community and its legal system. The feeling is accentuated by Palmer’s use of first and third-person narrative, allowing us to see the inside of the prison through Michael’s eyes while placing us alongside Nigel as he seeks to penetrate the mysterious environment that threatens to overcome them all. We are also entranced by the odd fellowship between Michael and his fellow prisoner John. Michael has been falsely imprisoned while John is a convicted drug dealer. The novel pays tribute to prison epics such as Midnight Express as we hang on tight to find out whether justice prevails, or the crooked system is to claim another victim in the final reel.
For readers looking for a tightly-wound page-turner, Lost Innocence by Simon Palmer will keep you locked in with Michael Walker until Nigel finds a way to get you out.
Most recent customer reviews
Michael is an excellent artist and went to Thailand to sketch the beautiful women he's seen...Read more