“ Paperback: 352 pages / Publisher: Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd / Published: 15 Mar 2012 / Language: English „
I picked up Laundry Man on my last trip to the library. I noticed from the cover it is in the crime genre, and I found the blurb and cover to be very appealing.
Set in the East, Jack Shepherd is an American who is living in Bangkok working as a University lecturer. He is an ex-lawyer, and teaches an economics course.
Life gets complicated for Jack when he gets a late night phonecall from an ex-colleague. Unusually, he is someone who was supposed to be dead. Jack finds himself involved in a case involving money laundering and the Russian mafia, and people he knows start turning up dead in unusual cases and Jack knows somehow he is involved, and he is trying desperately to get himself out of trouble before its too late.
The blurb describes this novel very positively - the level of detail is described as astounding. The closing chapters are said to run at breakneck speed. I was expecting a gritty and fast paced novel and to be highly engaged while reading this.
The reality is that I found this novel really quite boring. The author Jake Needham is obviously very knowledgable about Bangkok. Phuket and Hong Kong, and he is so keen to share his experience that everything is described in minute detail. This is a style that I found rather off-putting. I kept thinking to myself, a few more pages and I will get used to it. However, I managed to get right to the end of the novel with no care for any of the characters at all. I would find that a character would be mentioned by name who had previously been described in detail, and I was having to do a lot of mental searching to remember why they were important to the story.
I have found other novels take a little while to get into (eg. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) but the story is good enough for me to put up with this once I get going and I can work past it. Here, I was reading for readings sake - I don't like to give up on something I have started, and I was convinced that it must get better. However, I got all the way to the end, and still wasn't enamoured after reading 350 pages. It wasn't awful enough to make me stop reading, but it was just missing something to make it special and it was a bit flat to me. I'm not sure why, as the story concept is interesting, and it could have been a lot more exciting and readable. All I can think of is the over-description of everything is what turned me off this story.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone else either.