Fiction

The Detective Maier Trilogy

“The narrative is fast-paced and the frequent action scenes are convincingly written. The smells and sounds of Cambodia are vividly brought to life, and aficionados of this kind of writing will love the book. “

— Crime Fiction Lover

The Monsoon Ghost Image (2018)

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.

This time, under the sure hands of Tom Vater, the dark side of Thailand springs to life in vivid detail. The readers get a birds’ eye view of it all—from the back streets of Bangkok, Thai torture chambers, hedonistic party islands, sea gypsies and a millionaire’s island retreat that masquerades as a modern day Jurassic Park where men with too much money and time on their hands hunt humans instead of dinosaurs as sport.
-Categorically Well Read

Buy The Monsoon Ghost Image here.

Buy the entire Detective Maier Trilogy here.

The Man With The Golden Mind (2014)

A GRIPPING THRILLER BASED ON A TRUE STORY, THE CIA’S LARGEST OPERATION IN HISTORY, THE AGENCY’S COVERT WAR IN LAOS IN THE 1960s.

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.

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

Buy The Man with The Golden Mind here.

Buy the entire Detective Maier Trilogy here.

The Cambodian Book of the Dead (2013)

APOCALYPSE NOW MEETS THE BEACH IN THIS DARK, EXPLOSIVE THRILLER!

Cambodia 2001 – a country re-emerges from a half century of war, genocide, famine and cultural collapse.
German Detective Maier travels to Phnom Penh, the Asian kingdom’s ramshackle capital to find the heir to a Hamburg coffee empire.
As soon as the private eye and former war reporter arrives in Cambodia, his search for the young coffee magnate leads into the darkest corners of the country’s history and back in time, through the communist revolution to the White Spider, a Nazi war criminal who hides amongst the detritus of another nation’s collapse and reigns over an ancient Khmer temple deep in the jungles of Cambodia.
Maier, captured and imprisoned, is forced into the worst job of his life – he is to write the biography of the White Spider, a tale of mass murder that reaches from the Cambodian Killing Fields back to Europe’s concentration camps – or die.

“The Cambodian Book of the Dead is a hard boiled crime story wrapped in a surreal meditation on genocide, globalisation and the expatriate condition, by a writer who has acute observations to make on all three subjects.”
— Pulp Curry

Buy The Cambodian Book of the Dead here.

Read “…on the road to publication of The Cambodian Book of the Dead

Buy the audio book The Cambodian Book of the Dead here.

Buy the entire Detective Maier Trilogy here.

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu

A TENSE, FAST PACED AND KALEIDOSCOPIC PULP THRILLER, FOLLOWING THE LIVES OF TWO GENERATIONS OF DRIFTERS EMBROILED IN A SAGA OF SEX, DRUGS AND MURDER ON THE ROAD BETWEEN LONDON AND THE ROOF OF THE WORLD.

In 1976, four friends, Dan, Fred, Tim and Thierry, drive a bus along the hippie 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 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.

“A better backpacker novel than The Beach.”— Bangkok Post

” A gripping and clever tale of sex, crime, love, narcotics and greed, though not necessarily in that order.”— Untamed Travel

Buy The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu here.

Watch the Trailer for the Spanish edition of The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu here.

Buy Kathmandu, Camino al Infierno here.

Check out more great crime fiction at Crime Wave Press, Asia’s independent English language crime fiction imprint.

Read my short story, The Elephant in the Room, published by Close To The Bone, 2020.

Read my short story, Bag Times At The Blue Parrot, published by Howl, 2020

Buy A Time For Violence, a crime fiction anthology that features my short story To Kill An Arab, as well as stories by Joe R. Lansdale, Richard Christian Matheson, Max Allan Collins and Peter Leonard, published by Close To The Bone, 2019

Buy Mekong Shadows -Tales from Cambodia, a short story collection that features a long excerpt of The Cambodian Book of the Dead & great short stories by James Newman, Kosal Khiev, Steve W. Palmer, John Burdett etc, out with Saraswati Publishing, 2017

The anthology’s best episode, hands down, is actually a long excerpt from “The Cambodian Book of the Dead”, a taut and disturbing novel by Tom Vater (“Sacred Skin – Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos”). Rippling with clever wordplay, it’s a very dark reading indeed of Phnom Penh. Vater evokes “the smell of the tropics, saturated with reincarnation and ruin, this hypnotising combination of extremes, of promise and danger, of temptation and failure”. – Paul Dorsey, The Nation