9 Gold Bullets
G Moore’s Bangkok PI Vincent Calvino has been sleuthing again in his latest
book 9 Gold Bullets (ISBN 978-616-90393-7-2, Heaven Lake Press,
As opposed to the usual connotation of “bullets”, the
nine referred to here are a set of old “bullet” coins which were used as
commemorative coinage in Thailand in the late 1800’s.
This book sees a ‘new’ Calvino, one who having been left
some considerable sum of money does not have to take on cases with hopeless
odds. Cases where Calvino usually ended up being severely beaten -
physically rather than mentally. This time Calvino finds himself unwillingly
(and unwittingly) in the middle of a gold scam after agreeing to be the best
man at the marriage of an old school chum in America.
Scams are the real fodder for the Private Eye, and this
one involves Russians with too much money, both in Thailand and in the US,
and Calvino’s childhood friend appears in the midst of them all, apparently
an unsuspecting passenger, who is then abducted. Add in Calvino’s Thai
Colonel Pratt and the Thai treasury and you have many characters and just as
many leads to follow. And follow them you will, voraciously turning pages
wondering what is coming next.
Author Christopher G Moore is a master at leading the
reader on to what ‘should’ be the finale, but then you find it isn’t. And
neither is the next conclusion, just as you thought you had wrapped up the
entire case, as Calvino had thought he did!
Another reason for the popularity of this author’s books
is his detailed description of the individual scenes. This makes the reader
part of the action and aids belief in the narrative. Take the description of
a grieving middle aged Thai woman. “Wirot’s wife wore a black dress that
tented over her plump hips. Her surprised eyes made the Colonel wonder
whether her expression was the collateral damage of Botox or whether she was
in shock over the disappearance of her husband.”
For previous Calvino fans, I can assure that this latest
book has been worth waiting for. However, do not start reading until you
have a few hours spare, otherwise you will find yourself cursing any
interruption, such as getting ready for work. The twists and turns at the
end are more than the Chao Phraya and have you guessing, right through to
the final chapter. However, Colonel Pratt, Calvino’s Thai police friend does
manage to wrap up any last loose ends by simply saying, “Karma will take
care of the rest.” But Calvino, no matter how much Thai culture and customs
he has absorbed is still a farang in the end as his belief extends to “Good
old karma. Waiting until the next life to see what kind of lizard, bird or
ant a murderer came back as wasn’t an immediately satisfying alternative to
Incidentally, Pattaya numismatist Jan Olav Aamlid does
get a mention in the acknowledgements, being one of the world authorities on
old Thai currency, and has a fine collection of bullet coins.
The book is available in Bookazine at B.495.