Collette Scott's Reviews > Eating Smoke: One Man's Descent Into Crystal Meth Psychosis in Hong Kong's Triad Heartland

Eating Smoke by Chris Thrall
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's review
Oct 06, 11

Read in October, 2011

When Chris Thrall left England for Hong Kong in search of his fortune and fame, the outcome he received was most likely not the one that he had hoped for. Leaving a career in the military, he hurried out to Hong Kong to capitalize on a booming business, ready to entertain the wealthy and make a fortune. While he found a fun-loving group of friends, he also found the potent and dangerous drug, crystal meth. This blunt and entertaining read is the story of Mr.Thrall’s coming of age the hard way, and I mean hard.

Filled with ambition and the confidence that he could succeed in a new country, Chris begins his career in the business world only to realize that his need for adventure is not being met. He turns to the nightclub world, doing stints as a DJ as well as a doorman. During this time, Chris gives an honest and heartfelt impression of the inside of Hong Kong ethos, throwing little tidbits in while he’s making every effort to remain respectful of a culture in which he is the ex-pat. However, the drug takes a deeper hold on him and makes it impossible for him to remain long in each job, and his friends come and go. He ends up working for a club run by triads, and as his addiction increases he plays a dangerous game of inadvertently offending the most feared group in Hong Kong.

Chris does an exceptional job portraying his decline into the deepest forms of addiction. Once a self-assured go-getter, he becomes a shell of the man he once was to the point where his friends begin to fear him, his employers have no choice but to release him, and the locals all know of him. His confused and paranoid thoughts leave the reader confused and paranoid as well, all the while hoping that things will eventually get better for our hapless hero. Ever the survivor, Chris takes matters into his own hands, standing up to the triads’ games, facing his problem and fighting to take control back. We are left cheering on our tormented protagonist as he stands on the ledge of death or survival, eagerly praying he makes the right choice.

This is a great, fast-paced and engaging read where one will laugh, cry and shiver with fear right along with Mr. Thrall all the way through.
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