Bangkok is one of the great cities in the world, but unlike other great metropolises it has no noir tales to its name. Bangkok Noir puts that to right. In this first ever noir anthology of Bangkok, twelve seasoned and internationally known—Thai and Western—writers have come together to make a powerful collection of crime fiction short stories that portray the dark side of this Asian metropolis where the lives of most citizens seem as far away from heaven as its Thai name Krungthep is distant from its meaning—City of Angels.
In Bangkok Noir, the twelve short stories of various shades of black involve gangsters and hitmen, love and betrayal, the supernatural, the possessed and the dispossessed, and the far distant future. Titles in this collection include: John Burdett’s Gone East, Stephen Leather’s Inspector Zhang and the Dead Thai Gangster, Tew Bunnag’s The Mistress Wants Her Freedom, Colin Cotterill’s Halfhead, Pico Iyer’s Thousand and One Nights, Vasit Dejkunjorn's The Sword, Alex Kerr's Daylight, Timothy Hallinan's Hansum Man, Eric Stone's The Lunch That Got Away, Dean Barrett's Death of a Legend, Collin Piprell's Hot Enough to Kill, and Christopher G. Moore’s Dolphin Inc.
The authors and publisher will donate half of their earnings from this book to selected charity organizations which provide education to needy children in Thailand.
Christopher G. Moore is a Canadian author who has lived in Thailand since 1988. Formerly a law professor at the University of British Columbia and a practicing lawyer, Moore has become a public figure in Southeast Asia, known for his novels and essays that have captured the spirit and social transformation of Southeast Asia over the past three decades.
Moore has written over 30 fiction and non-fiction books, including the Vincent Calvino novels which have won including the Shamus Award and German Critics Award and have been translated to over a dozen languages. Moore’s books and essays are a study of human nature, culture, power, justice, technological change and its implications on society and human rights.
Starting in 2017, the London-based Christopher G. Moore Foundation awards an annual literary prize to books advancing awareness on human rights. He’s also the founder of Changing Climate, Changing Lives Film Festival 2020.
I wanted to read stories set in Bangkok on my way there for a business meeting. Having never been to Thailand I was looking forward to a little taste of the Thai culture, and the heartbeat of the capital. "Bangkok Noir" seemed like a good choice.
Unfortunately most of the stories in this collection were uninspiring. Only two stories did appeal to me: - The Sword, by Vasit Dejkunjorn, is a very short story about police corruption. - The lunch that got away, by Eric Stone, about helping a street vendor recover her stolen cart. This one is a bit unlikely but it is a nice feel-good story.
(Based on those 2 stories I am adding one star to my original rating of 2 out of 5.)
Last story is the best one. The title is "Hot enough to kill". It compressed everything, all of the main modern issues - westernization, moral depravity, faux values, aspiration for so-called "democrazy". I especially enjoyed the comparison of a shopping mall and a temple, pointing out that mall is bigger. What a symbol, eh?
Bangkok Noir (2011) was the first of this series of hard-boiled stories set in a particular location. But for some reason I had started withe the second volume set in Phnom Penh, which includes many of the same author from this initial volume. It was uneven, but generally speaking I enjoyed most of them. Some of the standouts for me were: "Gone East"-Johne Burdett, "Inspector Zang and the Dead"-Stephen Leather, "The MIstress Wants Her Freedom"-Tew Bunnag, "Hansum Man"-Timothy Hallman, "Death of a Legend"-Dean Barett, "The Lunch That Got Away"-Eric Stone, and "Hot Enough to Kill"-Collin Diprell. Oneo fthe more bizarre stories, ""Dolphins Inc." by Christopher G. Moore (also the editor of this volume as well as the Phnom Penh one), features the Dolphins of Taiji, Wakayama as main characters. II read this after a trip to Bangkok, and it does provide lots of local color and background information about Bangkok, in particular, and Thailand, in general. So I recommend it as background reading for a trip there.
I thought this would be an engaging and fast read, but it was just meh. Every single author was male and nearly all were white. I think there were only two, maybe three Thais. Are these stories even noir? Maybe some of them. Some were confusing and others even boring. I really expected more!
Quite an enjoyable collection of short stories, except for one howler (who edits the editor?). Some of my favourite crime authors are in here writing about one of my favourite cities and there are a couple of stories which make me want to check out the rest of the writers work. If you have been to Bangkok, you'll appreciate the descriptions here and funnily enough the common thread in most of the stories is police corruption. Who would of guessed?
Interesting collection of stories, including ones by Colin Cotterill and John Burdett. I am not normally a fan of short stories, nor have I read much "noir" fiction. I would classify this as a nice diversion - but not much more.
Short stories across the range of evils associated with Bangkok – corruption, greed, sex trade, drugs, violence, etc. Gangsters, hit men, businessmen, police, politicians, prostitutes, mistresses, etc., abound.