I love Samui in the wee small hours. I especially love it on nights like this when the while moon stares down from the blackness like the pockmarked eye of a blind god. At such times, when the island’s bright signs have paled to grey and the broom of sweep has swept the revellers to their beds, my mind’s cynical crust cracks open a little, and some fanciful poetry leaks in. Then the dark hills appear to me as slumbering prehistoric leviathans, the clouds assume the air of restless ghosts, and the moon-dusted sea murmurs in some long forgotten tongue of the divine.
Do you get the picture?
From John Dolan’s beautifully descriptive prose above, I fell in love with this beautiful Thai island too. But until I physically hope onto a plane heading over there, I make do with a virtual visit, via Mr Dolan’s wonderfully crafted book, Everyone Burns.
Crime thrillers set in exotic locations have been my favourite choice of reads in recent years. This book ticked many of the boxes that interest me in a great read: engaging plot, fascinating, believable characters, conflicts (murders and cultural clashes), pace and more: WIT. Yes, having lived in the UK for over a quarter of a century, I have a soft heart for a particular British brand: Sense of Humour.
Everyone Burns has all the essential ingredients of a good book, no matter what genre, yet wit was not something I had expected when I began reading but very quickly became entertained by it. The protagonist David Braddock is a cynical, quintessential Englishman who not only lives in Thailand but he is well-versed both culturally and linguistically in that exotic country (Qualities I happen to admire). He is by no means a perfect human specimen but his very imperfections and flaws only make him more authentic and believable. I could actually imagine him going about his dual businesses while chasing after sexy women on the side in that exciting, exotic and erotic island. Isn’t that what a middle-aged ‘farang’ is supposed to do in Thailand ?
On a personal level, I am impressed with Mr Dolan’s appreciation and knowledge of Eastern cultures, especially insights into Buddhism.
As a general rule, I don’t do spoilers in my reviews. I prefer my readers to be persuaded by my humble efforts, pick up a copy and read for themselves. If any of you are so inclined, I wish you many hours of happy reading !
Everyone Burns will be my Book of the Month in January 2014 – I shall be inviting Mr John Dolan for a heart-to-heart chat soon, when you’ll learn a little more about the Englishman in Thailand, the writer and his books set in that enchanting country.
Everyone burns, as the Buddha says, in their own way. Some burn with anger, some with lust, some with a desire for vengeance, some with fear. But inside us burn many fires, not just one. We are legion, we contain a multitude.
Links: Click on the title of the book above to get to Amazon UK, or go to Amazon USA.