Tom Vater

Tom Vater

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

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Men Reading Books review The Monsoon Ghost Image

Men Reading Books found my just published novel The Monsoon Ghost Image a little disturbing…

The Monsoon Ghost Image by Tom Vater is a very dark murder mystery which takes place in Southeast Asia, especially Thailand and Cambodia. The book starts in late 2002, and the course of the story covers about six months. One key figure are Martin Ritter who fakes his death at the outset even though that resulted in the death of the other half-dozen people on his sailboat, which was located in the Andaman Sea off Thailand. Those deaths are only the beginning – lots of people are killed in the course of this story. After having his appearance altered by a psychopathic plastic surgeon, Dr. Suriporn, Ritter thought he was safe, but then he was still recognized, so the chase was on to find him. Another character was Fred Maier, a drunken German detective, felt like his life was no longer worth living and he descended into a severe alcoholic state in an attempt to flee the worsening world that he perceived.

The author set the stage for the dismal state of the world when he wrote, “A clear demarcation line had been drawn in the collective narrative of the brotherhood of man. People weren’t arguing about issues anymore. People were arguing about what had happened and what was happening. People were arguing about the course history had taken and was taking, about who was writing it up and how it was being broadcast and consumed, and they no longer agreed on the broad strokes. The truth was becoming just another story. For better or for worse, every certainty was fragmenting.”

You can get the ebook edition of the third Detective Maier Mystery,  The Monsoon Ghost Image, here. Print will be available in December.

 

Talking about writing at My Book Place

I was interviewed at My Book Place a while ago about all things bookish….

What is your favorite book of all time?
Hard to say, so many – Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, the Chandler novels, Treasure Island by Stevenson, Burmese Days by George Orwell, The Quiet American by Graham Greene, Killing Mr Watson by Peter Matthiessen, Shoot The Piano Player by David Goodis, Death’s Dark Abyss by Massimo Carlotto, Riding Shotgun And Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch,
a German children’s novel called Krabat by Otfried Preußler and so on…

Read the full interview here if you dare…

The Monsoon Ghost Image – Out Now!

Grab a digital copy for US$3.99.

The print edition is out in December.

The third Detective Maier mystery, published by Crime Wave Press, is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

Read more about The Monsoon Ghost Image at Literary Titan.

 

2nd Revised Edition of Cambodia: Journey through the Land of the Khmer out now

Kraig Lieb’s illustrated book Cambodia: Journey through the Land of the Khmer, featuring my text, is currently Cambodia’s bestselling illustrated book.

A newly revised, freshly edited, fantabulous edition with new images is out now!

The Monsoon Ghost Image in Literary Titan

I was interviewed by Laure Siegel for Literary Titan about my forthcoming novel The Monsoon Ghost Image, the last past in my Detective Maier southeast Asian trilogy, to be published by Crime Wave Press next month.

With The Monsoon Ghost Image, I wanted to bring the series into the recent past. Rather than have Maier sift through the detritus of long gone cruelties, I wanted him to face something that is relevant today – the war on terror, America’s endless war and the co-option of weaker nations into its realpolitik. I’m not out to blame Thailand. The pressure applied by the US to assist in its barbarism was presumably immense.
I feel that the clearly undemocratic actions of nations who talk about democracy incessantly and who pride themselves on their apparently participatory governance, need to be a much more prominent part of our common narrative if we are to create a future in which it’s worth living. And I am not sure we’re doing anything like that. The renditions were a collective failure, not just of agency people, the military, the politicians, but of everyone who waves this off as a mad minute, including Europeans. I love American arts, their music, their movies, their paintings, but the abuse of the very norms the US cherishes is so commonplace now, it comes with a sheer endless number of historical precedents and is nonetheless so fiercely defended by many Americans, that there needs to be a counter-narrative.

Read the full interview at Literary Titan.

Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

 

Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars & Human Beasts – Coming soon: The Monsoon Ghost Image

Detective Maier Is Back Soon To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

Out in November…

 

The Crime Fiction of Phnom Penh @ Crime Reads

Patrick French reports on Drifters, Conspirators, and Noir in Cambodia’s Capital City for Crime Reads and writes…

“Hard-boiled and noir is pretty much the only option on the menu when it comes to Phnom Penh crime writing. Tom Vater, a Bangkok-based writer and publisher, wrote The Cambodian Book of the Dead (2013) which sees German Detective Maier travels to Phnom Penh to find the heir to a Hamburg coffee empire. It’s 2001 and Cambodia is only just emerging from Pol Pot, starvation, civil war and political infighting. Maier is plunged back into Cambodia’s dark history, which collides with his own when it transpires that a Nazi war criminal has remained hidden among the chaos of the Khmer Rouge.”

Read the full story here…

The third and final Detective Maier Mystery, The Monsoon Ghost Image, is largely set in Thailand and will be published by Crime Wave Press later this year.

The Man with the Golden Mind selected as a Must Read for 2019 by CQI Magazine

The Man with the Golden Mind, the second Detective Maier Mystery, has been selected as a Must Read title for 2019 by CQI Magazine (pages 44-45).

Julia Rendel asks Detective 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.

Published by Crime Wave Press. Get your copy here.

I am again impressed with a Crime Wave Press offering, this one being a Cold War aftermath spy thriller set in a country about which I knew very little: Laos. Tom Vater sets up an intricate and complicated plot which I found it a joy to get lost in and also introduces interesting and believable characters, both male and female. The women in this novel aren’t just eye candy. — Literary Flits

Eaux Troubles – Sharks are not the only killers… – Short Story in Ecoute Magazine

Sharks are not the only killers off the shores of Réunion Island.

Eaux Troubles, the first of three parts out with Ecoute Magazine in Germany this month, written by Laure Siegel and myself, is our first crime fiction short story collaboration in French.

Interview on forthcoming The Monsoon Ghost Image at My Book Place

My Book Place were so kind as to ask me about my current crime fiction adventures.

So if you’re interested in what I am writing and reading at the moment, check out the interview here.

 

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