Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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Thailand ministers try to tempt tourists back – The Daily Telegraph

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Thailand attempts to fix its sagging international image while admitting it is facing increasing competition from Cambodia, Laos and Burma.

My thoughts on the kingdom’s tourism woes in The Daily Telegraph.

British Library launches campaign to save the sounds of history

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My writing career started right here, at the British Library’s National Sound Archive. I went to see them in 1993 after my first return from India. I was interested in the music of indigenous communities in the region and approached the National Sound Archive’s International Music Collection with an offer of recording and documenting the obscure sounds of Asia. A wonderful collaboration emerged in the following years. With equipment and a small grant from the Archive I roamed around Asia and recorded musicians in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand, The Philippines. and Indonesia. Three CDs of my work were released and I wrote and lectured on disappearing music. I did my last recordings on the eve of the tsunami a decade ago in Sumatra. Many of the musical traditions – from the Andaman Islands to the Hindu Kush – have since disappeared. All my recordings remain with the archive and I hope there is some way to save all this invaluable collective memory.

Now The British Library has started a campaign to find funding to save its vast archive of historical sounds, and its a race against time as many old recordings are deteriorating and need to be digitized. Read more in The Daily Telegraph.

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Welcome to the 3rd Bangkok Fiction Night of Noir on January 8th

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Not sure of the line-up yet, but there’s a third Bangkok Fiction Night of Noir happening on January 8th and Jame DiBiasio, author of Gaijin Cowgirl, has been confirmed. I will be reading something too.

Looking forward to a rare literary event in the Thai capital. Hats off to writer/organizer James Newman.

Wonderful book launch for Cambodia: Journey through the Land of the Khmer in Phnom Penh

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Enjoyed the book launch for Cambodia: Journey through the Land of the Khmer with photographer Kraig Lieb.

I participated in a panel on travel writing with Lonely Planet authors Greg Bloom and Nick Ray in front of an animated audience at Meta House in Phnom Penh. Thanks to everyone for turning up.

Photo by Hans Kemp.

Happy New Year and thanks to all my Readers

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Cambodia: A Journey through the land of the Khmer – Book launch in Phnom Penh, December 8th

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Crime Wave Press at Georgetown Literary Festival

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Crime Wave Press are at the Georgetown Literary Festival today, having a great time.

I had not been to Penang, Malaysia for a decade, so the festival is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the city which has come a long way in the last years.

Also great have been encounters with a number of fantastic writers, not least Brian Stoddart, author of the Le Fanu mysteries, out with Crime Wave Press and the incredible Marco Ferrarese – author, punk rock musician and all around cool guy – who has been living in Penang for a few years.

Another wonderful individual I have had the pleasure to meet is Ismail Gareth Richards, the owner of the excellent Gerakbudaya Bookshop in Penang. Generous, gregarious and passionate about the printed word, Gareth is one of these guys who makes the world of books a better place.

Photographs by Lah Worawan Simaroj.

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A Madras Miasma, published by Crime Wave Press, makes Top 10 crime debuts of 2014 @ Crime Fiction Lover (UK)

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A Madras Miasma, written by Brian Stoddart and published by my crime fiction imprint Crime Wave Press, makes the Top 10 crime debuts of 2014 @ Crime Fiction Lover (UK).

The author is a distinguished academic in Australia, and has written many non-fiction books, but this is his debut as a novelist. We are in post WWI Madras, and former soldier, now policeman, Christian Le Fanu, has to investigate the death of an English woman, found in one of the city’s stinking canals. He must do this against a background of mounting unrest in the civilian population, and dissenting factions within the British colonial administration. As well as being a compelling detective story, the novel unforgettably evokes the sounds and smells of 1920s India.

Cambodia: A Journey through the Land of the Khmer – in The Advisor

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An extract of my new book – with renowned American photographer and Lonely Planet veteran Kraig LiebCambodia: A Journey through the Land of the Khmer, is featured in The Advisor this week.

Read the text – about the country’s capital Phnom Penh – here.

The Blind Rooster – The 13th title from Crime Wave Press

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The Blind Rooster by Preston land is the 13th title my publishing company Crime Wave Press has released.

When con-man Ralph does a runner on the check at a shabby diner in an unfamiliar town, he doesn’t expect it to catch up to him. But the waitress Arlene tracks him down and ropes him into a bizarre heist involving ugly family secrets, a violent stepfather, a well-secured safe, and most of all Arlene’s mother Gracie—a sultry karaoke queen who tickles Ralph’s fancy for older women. Ralph will need all his guile to make it through a job that has him wishing that he’d just paid for his meal.
The Blind Rooster offers a crude slice of American small town Noir, sunny side down, with echoes of Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard.

When con-man Ralph does a runner on the check at a shabby diner in an unfamiliar town, he doesn’t expect it to catch up to him. But the waitress Arlene tracks him down and ropes him into a bizarre heist involving ugly family secrets, a violent stepfather, a well-secured safe, and most of all Arlene’s mother Gracie—a sultry karaoke queen who tickles Ralph’s fancy for older women. Ralph will need all his guile to make it through a job that has him wishing that he’d just paid for his meal.
The Blind Rooster offers a crude slice of American small town Noir, sunny side down, with echoes of Jim Thompson and Elmore Leonard.

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