Tom Vater

Tom Vater

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

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Interview on Creative Writer’s Post














Liz Kingsbury McKeown interviews me about my writing career.

It was fun.

Do something creative with your life. Don’t work for a boss in an office all your life. Don’t fall into consumerist trappings. Don’t get a mortgage if it means having to earn money day and night to make payments. Stay free enough so you have time to write. Once you have to make time, it all gets very difficult. Contribute something to the community. Don’t expect to be financially secure. If that is a priority for you, do something else.

Read the whole story at Creative Writer’s Boost.

The Man With The Golden Mind reviewed at Literary Fits

The Man with the Golden Mind gets a great review at Literary Fits.

“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! I was a little concerned that I hadn’t already read the first in what is becoming the Detective Maier series, but that turned out not to matter at all. This is a self-contained tale, admittedly with nods to its predecessor, but I enjoyed the read without any prior knowledge of our lead character.

Laos provides a fascinating backdrop to the story and I loved seeing glimpses into a completely different culture and way of life. I hadn’t realised just how comprehensively the nation was bombed as a result of the Vietnam War, or that its people are still being killed and maimed by that war’s bombs and landmines. Vater manages to include such education without losing the pace of his thriller. I did occasionally lose track of peripheral characters as there is quite a large cast to keep track of, but the twists, turns and double-crosses make for compelling reading and I particularly loved Mikhail. What a fabulous creation!”

Get an ebook copy of The Man with the Golden Mind here.

When tattoo culture meets politics – Tamil Nadu – Nikkei Asian Review

Usually a matter of choice, Indian state takes political tattoos to new level.

Check out my new feature, with Laure Siegel, on one of India’s enduring personality cults.

For decades, the followers of six times state minister and recently deceased Jayalalithaa Jayaram, have been wearing their political idol’s face on their skins, acquired in mass tattoo sessions.

MADURAI, India — On a sweltering summer morning in 2016, D. Pandiamall, a 52-year-old money lender and political activist, was sitting in the entrance hall of her huge family home in a suburb of Madurai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The room was bare but for images of Jayalalithaa Jayaram, a former movie actress who led the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (All India Anna Dravidian Progress Federation), India’s third largest political party, who had just been declared chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the sixth time. The state is home to about 78 million people, equal to about 60% of the population of Japan….

Read the full story here…

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu, published 12 years ago
























The first edition of The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu, published in 2005 by Dragon’s Mouth Press in HK.

Photo by Charlie Londs.

The novel about a drug deal gone wrong on the 70s hippy trail between Turkey and India has since been republished by Crime Wave Press and there’s a Spanish translation published by Editorial Xplora.

‘The Devil’s Road To Kathmandu’ is a tense, fast paced and kaleidoscopic pulp thriller, following the lives of two generations of drifters who become embroiled in a saga of sex, drugs and murder on the road between London and the Indian subcontinent. In 1976, four friends, Dan, Fred, Tim and Thierry, drive a bus along the hippy trail from London to Kathmandu. En Route in Pakistan, a drug deal goes badly wrong, yet the boys escape with their lives and the narcotics. Thousands of kilometers, numerous acid trips, accidents, nightclubs and even a pair of beautiful Siamese twins later, as they finally reach the counter-culture capital of the world, Kathmandu, Fred disappears with the drug money. A quarter century later, after receiving mysterious emails inviting them to pick up their share of the money, Dan, Tim and Thierry are back in Kathmandu. The Nepalese capital is not the blissful mountain backwater they remember. Soon a trail of kidnapping and murder leads across the Roof of the World. With the help of Dan’s backpacking son, a tattooed lady and a Buddhist angel, the ageing hippies try to solve a 25-year old mystery that leads them amongst Himalayan peaks for a dramatic showdown with their past.

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu is a better backpacker’s book than The Beach. – The Bangkok Post

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu is a great read. – The Nepali Times

Vater sets scenes on a razor edge, catastrophe, oblivion and unbridled passion waiting for these volatile characters to lose their balance…. Multiple narratives and parallel plots give this book breadth and depth – quite a mind trip, actually, and a rather addictive read. – Lifestyle + Travel


Tom Vater – Noir On The Radio









My radio podcast interview with the great Greg Barth on Noir On The Radio. I talk about my crime novels, Crime Wave Press and the life on the road.

…listen to it here.

I get to talk about my books, SE Asian history, Tony Poe, The Heart of Darkness, The Dead Kennedys, the media, the far right, Asian dictators and Donald Trump.

Tom Vater talks crime fiction on Noir on the Radio on Friday January 14th, 10pm EST

I will be talking about my crime novels and my publishing imprint Crime Wave Press on on Friday, January 14th at 10pm EST on Noir on the Radio with host Greg Barth.

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The Curious Corpse to be made into a movie


The Curious Corpse, the fourth installment in Nick Wilgus acclaimed series of Father Ananda crime novels, is beng made into a movie.

De Warenne Pictures, who also produced Mindfulness and Murder, the first title in the series, purchased the rights from Crime Wave Press last year.

Looking forward too seeing one of our titles to hit the big screen.

Happy Xmas from The Devil’s Road











Can you feel it?

We’re all on it.

Happy Holidays from The Devil’s Road…

Find more beautiful outrageously poignant moments from around the world on my new photo blog project with Laure Siegel.

A photo a day keeps the fuckers at bay.

Wish all my readers, and everyone else, a smooth transition into what promises to be a bumpy 2017.





Sacred Skin on Tattoo Maniacs – German TV


Thailand’s sacred tattoos and my book (with Aroon Thaewchatturat) Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos will be featured on Tattoo Maniacs on German TV tomorrow night.

Looks like a classy show. Hm.

„Tattoomaniacs – Körperkult und Arschgeweih“ – am Mittwoch, 30. November 2016, um 23:15 Uhr bei RTL II

The Man with the Golden Mind reviewed at Creative Writer’s Boost















“The Man with the Golden Mind brings postwar Viet Nam back on the grid. As you walk along with Cultural Attache Rendel and his mysterious spy cohort, code named Weldmeister, you can almost smell the damp smell from the muddy river.”

The Man with the Golden Mind, the second Detective Maier mystery, has been reviewed by Creative Writer’s Boost.

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.