piece of advice that I give to new writers is that they should write about
things that they know. The result is books that have the thread of realism
necessary in today’s sophisticated literary world.
Vortex (ISBN 978-149-80581-4, Linden Tree and Matt Carrell Books, 2014) is
the second novel from Matt Carrell, and is a classical thriller in every
sense. Set in the Asian investment arena in Hong Kong and Bangkok, it
becomes obvious that Carrell has an understanding of the wheeler dealers in
the financial agencies, having worked in the field himself.
As well as the financial advice industry, the book brings in the current
political unrest and political aspirations of some people. Mention is made
of the British PM who authorized the bombing of Iraq and who is now on the
world tour (including Thailand) to show how to achieve peace. “It’s beyond
irony,” says one of the principal characters. “In Thailand we have soap
operas with more believable plots.”
The book is mired in the political intrigue, for which Thailand has been
involved for all of its constitutional monarchy days. Carrell writes,
“Politicians are nothing more than opportunists with an eye on the lecture
tour and the odd backhander.” I don’t think any of the readers would
disagree, other than “the odd backhander”. Current day politicians expect
The principal character is a young university graduate Andy Duncan, whose
father worked in Hong Kong in the financial investment industry. “There was
no doubt where the real power lay. In the hands of the investment staff.”
The infamous Nick Leeson and how he felled the historic Barings Bank in
London is mentioned, and young Andy enters this financial world with his
father available to advise his son on how to avoid the financial traps open
to young players, not really used to dealing in millions of dollars. Andy’s
fall into the vortex of greed is just the start, and he sinks deeper.
I enjoyed his first novel “Thai Kiss” (ISBN978-1-938369-02-5, Aardwolfe
Books, 2013), and this one is even better in the fact that it is not another
of the bar scene/bar girls cheating genre. Carrell in this book shows he has
a better than average understanding of Thai culture, including the HiSo end,
a place where most farangs are not all welcome and often viewed with
suspicion. This is highlighted towards the end of the book, and leaves the
reader wondering about the truthfulness of some of the current high flyers!
The plot is excellent, building up two separate sub-plots and then bringing
them together in an unexpected way.
The pace speeds up towards the end of the book, and there are so many twists
and turns that the reader will be left breathless. The characters use what
is known as the ‘long game’ and the fact that the Asian races do this much
better than the Westerners is used.
I enjoyed this book, and I am sure that so will you.
The book is available through Amazon (as is his earlier works), or contact
the author directly via email [email protected] or visit the