Tom Vater

Tom Vater

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

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Tracking Down Tom Vater

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Kevin S Cummings tracks me down for an exclusive interview on crime fiction, Crime Wave Press and RocknRoll Music.

There are certain writers in Thailand that if they were not writers they would make excellent fictional protagonists, because the real-life lives they lead would make for an interesting read. Joe Cummings is one such writer. As is our guest today, Tom Vater. There are many things I like about Tom Vater, the writer and the person. The latter has been known to drop off the grid from time to time, which no doubt helps the former.

Read on at People, Things, Literature.

The Man with the Golden Mind – Out Now!


The Man with the Golden Mind. Photographed by Manis On Fire.

My Lowdown on Songkran, Thai New Year in The Daily Telegraph


It’s hot as hell in Bangkok at the moment. The city is waiting for rain. And for Thai New Year.

Here’s my lowdown on the kingdom’s most important festival in today’s Daily Telegraph.

Sex, Drugs, and Executions: Author Tom Vater Talks Inspiration For His New Book


…plenty of sex, drugs, assassinations, executions, kidnapping, double-crosses and other darkness-tinged exotica along the way.

How I came up with The Man with the Golden Mind, over at Exhibit A.

The Man with the Golden Mind – Opening Chapter

Read the opening chapter of The Man with the Golden Mind, out today with Exhibit A Books in the US and UK.

Julia Rendel asks Maier to investigate the twenty-five year old murder of her father, an East German cultural attaché who was killed near a fabled CIA airbase in central Laos in 1976. But before the detective can set off, his client is kidnapped right out of his arms.

Maier follows Julia’s trail to the Laotian capital Vientiane, where he learns different parties, including his missing client are searching for a legendary CIA file crammed with Cold War secrets. But the real prize is the file’s author, a man codenamed Weltmeister, a former US and Vietnamese spy and assassin no one has seen for a quarter century.

The Man with the Golden Mind – out today!!!


The second Maier Mystery, The Man with the Golden Mind, is out today. The novel is set in Laos and based on the CIA’s largest covert operation to date.

Read an excellent and generous review by Terry Irving.

The book is a quest for truth, a search for a father and family, and a journey through the lies, betrayals, hot sex, and odd friendships that are the reality of the spy trade. There is kidnapping, gunshots, insane maniacs hiding in the deep jungles. If it wasn’t for the documentary–which is not available in the United States but should be (there is a stolen copy on YouTube)–you could believe that it’s all fantasy and fiction.

It’s the best of both. A great spy thriller wrapped around a real mystery and a real crime. Hell, most writers are lucky if they can make up a central mystery that’s good enough to hold your interest. The Man with the Golden Mind is a rarity because the central mystery is not only mind-blowing but true.

Get the lowdown at my guest blog with Paul D Brazill.

My Special Needs Baby’s Long and Roundabout Road to Publication


Crime Wave Press author Gary Anderson recounts how he found a home for his excellent and hilariously transgressive Sci Fi Noir novel The Gwousz Affair.

I’m going start by making what might be a startling admission: I came to noir late. The Gwousz Affair is my first attempt at what might be if not partially classified as noir, then at least clearly influenced by it. In fact, I didn’t read Hammet or Chandler until a few years ago. I didn’t even watch Out of the Past and In a Lonely Place until well after my college years. Yet, I’ve recently come to realize that noir has always been with me, looming somewhere in the background, hiding in the shadows of my subconscious with a cigarette crushed between its teeth. Let me explain….

Read the full guest blog over at British crime writer’s Paul D. Brazill’s website.

It’s always too late for someone / Crime Wave Press – The Story So Far….


Two friends, Tom Vater and Hans Kemp, recently launched Crime Wave Press, in Hong Kong.

Here Tom explains how they began their publishing (ad)venture.

“In the summer of 2012, Hans and I were sitting in Bangkok talking about the changing world of publishing and the new challenges facing small independent publishers and writers. We had just collaborated on a successful illustrated book, Sacred Skin, Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos, for his Hong Kong based publishing house, Visionary World.  Meanwhile, I had just had the rights to my first novel, The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu, returned to me by a local publisher. I was also sitting on a crime novel, The Cambodian Book of the DeadI had not yet managed to sell.

Our conversation went something like this.

“Why don’t we start a crime fiction imprint?”

“We could specialise in crime fiction from Asia. There’s bound to be lots of writers out here trying to find a publisher. And there’s plenty of crime to write about.”

“And we’d have two titles to start with immediately.”

“We could call it Crime Wave Press.”


It was really as easy as that. Well, sort of. Well, not quite…”


Read the full story at Asian Books Blog.

Burmese Light Reviewed in The Advisor

burmese light

Burmese Light. my collaboration with photographer Hans Kemp, gets a great review in The Advisor. Thanks, Wayne McCallum.

“Burmese Light is the best photo-travelogue that I have read or browsed through in 2013 or nearly any year for that matter. Yes! It is simply that good.”

Great New Press for Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos


Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos, photographed by Aroon Thaewchatturat, gets a couple new plugs/ reviews.

The Apsara Diaries write

“The book ‘Scared Skin’ focuses on Thai devotees and the Wai Khru; a once a year gathering of tattooed devotes. The book gives you a clear, in-depth understanding of Yantra and its magic.”

Over at Where Sidewalks End, they had this to say,

“When photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat and writer Tom Vater apporached publisher Hans Kemp of Visionary World in Hong Kong with the idea of doing a book on the amazing Sak Yant of Thailand, the idea hit home right away. The ensuing months saw the authors and publisher very closely work together, developing a concept to portray not only the tattoos but to lend a voice to the wearers as well. The result, Sacred Skin, designed by award winning graphic artist AustiVonNEW, is a compelling introdcution to Sak Yant and its unique place in Thai society. With 200 pages chockfull of beautiful portraits featuring fully tattooed masters and devotees, a comprehensive secton detailing individual yants and an engaging and insightful text, Sacred Skin will appeal to tattoo enthusiasts, (photo)graphic art lovers and those interested in Asian culture alike.”

Thank you!!!