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Asia Hand (Vincent Calvino Series #2)

Asia Hand (Vincent Calvino Series #2)

4.5 2
by Christopher G. Moore

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Christopher G. Moore’s prize-winning series of Bangkok thrillers featuring Vincent Calvino, a disbarred American lawyer turned PI, have been praised for their captivating plots, engaging characters, and insight into the steamy Thai capital. In Asia Hand, the second novel in the series, Bangkok is celebrating Chinese New Year when Calvino’s revels


Christopher G. Moore’s prize-winning series of Bangkok thrillers featuring Vincent Calvino, a disbarred American lawyer turned PI, have been praised for their captivating plots, engaging characters, and insight into the steamy Thai capital. In Asia Hand, the second novel in the series, Bangkok is celebrating Chinese New Year when Calvino’s revels are cut short. The body of an American, an acquaintance of Calvino’s, has been fished out of the lake in Lumpini Park. Around his neck are a string of wooden amulets, the kind upcountry Thais wear to protect themselves from evil spirits. Only rather than saving Hutton, these have killed him.
A freelance cameraman scraping by on the margins, Hutton had photographed something shortly before his death that he thought would make his career. Now the footage—a shocking execution on the Thai/Burmese border—is running repeatedly on CNN, and the rights to Hutton’s life story have been sold to a Hollywood producer. But who killed Hutton and why? When Calvino investigates, he collides with a powerful filmmaker and an experienced old Asia hand who knows the terrain as well as our man in Bangkok. It’s all Calvino can do to stay alive, and find out who killed his fellow American.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
First published in 1993 in Thailand in a small English-language edition, Moore's stylish second Bangkok thriller featuring disbarred American lawyer Vincent Calvino (after Spirit House) finds Calvino and his best friend, Col. Prachai "Pratt" Chongwatana of the Thai police, investigating the death of U.S. ex-pat Jerry Hutton, a freelance cameraman. Hutton drowned in a lake while wearing "a necklace of small wooden penises," amulets worn by upcountry farmers, not foreigners. Was it an accident, suicide, or murder? The trail leads to a mysterious American colonel involved with a movie being filmed in Bangkok, Lucky Charms, whose purpose has more to do with spies and murder than entertainment. Calvino and Pratt quote a lot of Shakespeare as the author explores the dark side of both Bangkok and the human heart. Felicitous prose speeds the action along, as in this snapshot of a Thai bar girl: "Her meter had clocked more than a few miles; but she was still roadworthy as she turned the last corner on her thirties"). (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Once more Vincent Calvino, Bangkok's most newsworthy private eye, forgoes paying clients to avenge a dead acquaintance and incidentally protect himself and his family. After some bumpy times, freelance cameraman Jerry Hutton finally seemed to have it made. With soundman Roland May, he'd recorded footage of a Burmese Army division flagrantly violating the Geneva Convention. When the resulting publicity allowed him to option the story of his life and won him a job doing second-unit work on American director Jesse Tyler's movie Lucky Charms, he'd been so ebullient that he'd splurged to buy his rental wife Kwang a German Shepherd to breed. That was all before he was thrown into jail and, soon after his release, thrown into Lumpini Park Lake and drowned. Did the 22nd Burmese Division somehow get back at him? The murder of Roland, which follows apace, makes it sound that way. But his friend Col. Pratt of the Bangkok police helps Calvino, who's less interested in the subject of Hutton's movie than in the process of filmmaking, see something odd about the footage that put Hutton on the hot seat. And Calvino sees something even strangerf about Lucky Charms, starting with its cast. For the film's leading lady Carol Hatcher, the daughter of a U.S. Army Intelligence officer, is joined by Calvino's lover Kiko and his visiting daughter Melody, 13, who lands an unsought role hours after her plane touches down. Less original and densely packed than Calvino's earlier cases (Paying Back Jack, 2009, etc.), but just as dankly atmospheric.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Vincent Calvino Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 5.64(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Christopher G. Moore is a Canadian writer who once taught law at the University of British Columbia. After his first book His Lordship¿s Arsenal was published in New York to a critical acclaim in 1985, Moore became a full-time writer and has so far written 22 novels, a non-fiction and one collection of inter-locked short stories.

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Asia Hand (Vincent Calvino Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Favorite sentence from the book would have to be "Bangkok's not Brooklyn, Vinnie," said Kiko, ... "And respect is the first thing you give up living here." Mr. Moore should be required reading for any Thailand expat needing a visa extension beyond 60 days. Asia Hand is the second in the popular Vincent Calvino P.I. crime series. The first half of the book I thought had some really good writing. I was prepared not to like when I got to the Hollywood Treatment by Vinnie at the 1/2 way point but that actually worked for me and reinforced the plot lines. I liked the plot and didn't think it was particularly difficult or easy to follow. You had to pay attention. I like the little things about Christopher Moore's writing style and following a Raymond Chandler 1950's book it made the evolution of crime fiction writing apparent. I doubt Chandler would ever have a chapter like THIRD SHIFT, which highlights the misfits found in Bangkok brilliantly. And who doesn't have a little misfit in them? Chandler paints external pictures well; Mr Moore paints internal pictures well. I prefer internal assessments. An example is his brief but brilliant treatment of the triumvirate of all sexual relationships: commitment, passion and trust. I liked that a lot. It was dark, believable, nicely interwoven and full of bad guys. The ending I enjoyed. I am a sucker for a Buddhist moral so that worked for me and I thought Moore did a great job of painting the personality of Vinnie's 13 year old daughter, visiting Bangkok with his ex-wife. Vincent describing a truck load of Thai peasant labor to her also stands out as to why Moore is one of only a handful of authors who have the Thailand expertise to write about the various layers of complex Thai society. The whole insider's Hollywood scene I actually liked and learned from, unlike the reviewer who gave this book a 1 star rating. Different strokes for different folks as we say in Thailand. Start out with Spirit House by Moore then go from there. A Killing Smile is also a good read about Bangkok expat life. Pattaya 24/7 and 9 Gold Bullets were also good.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
In this 1993 novel, our hero, detective Vinnie Calvino, says that he gives himself, at best, another 20 years. After all, his is a dangerous profession, especially in Bangkok. But if we have to wait 17 years for the novels, then Vinnie will be long dead before we read about is last exploits. Sad, huh? Asia Hand is full of typos and other language mistakes, the characters enter the most improbable of relationships, yet I give it four stars. Why? Because it has charm in abundance. You cannot help but like the good guys in the novel, nor can you hate Bangkok even given its numerous faults- and improbable relationships. The city is alive if nothing else, and Asia Hand entertains despite its faults. And making us wait 17 years is definitely a fault!