Review - The Assassin on the Bangkok Express, Roland Perry
THE ASSASSIN ON THE BANGKOK EXPRESS is the second book in a series sub-titled "The Honourable Assassin", the first (with that title) released in 2015. Set, needless to say in Asia, they feature Vic Cavalier as the central protagonist. Cavalier is a newspaper reporter and freelance secret agent, with a long history of working in Asia. Long enough to have a daughter with his now ex-wife, a Thai doctor, his daughter having been kidnapped by the head of a Mexican Drug cartel with tendrils into Thailand, and Bangkok in particular.
If you've not read the first book there's enough back story in BANGKOK EXPRESS to give you an idea of the lead up - helped in the ebook version by an extensive walk through of the action from THE HONOURABLE ASSASSIN at the start.
Cavalier has an unusual set up, journalist and freelance secret agent isn't a combination that has a precedent as far as this reader can remember, so that might take a while to get used to. As will the style of the storytelling which is formal, particularly when it comes to dialogue which is precise, detailed and not always convincing as conversational. This was frequently unfortunate as the action is reasonably well paced, and whilst the plot is complicated and will require some suspension of disbelief, overall it's quite compelling.
The novel does, however, transmit great authority when it comes to the setting. There's a palpable sense of place and culture, right down to scenery, weather and people's day to day behaviour. There's nice insight into the ex-pat life in Bangkok and a brave undertaking in making Cavalier reactions to his ex-wife (a complicated woman battling mental illness) not always consistent or sympathetic.
That sense of place, and the complications that drug wars bring to communities struggling with poverty are strong aspects to this novel, and readers who aren't bothered by the slightly old-fashioned, mannered way of relating a current day plot may find THE ASSASSIN ON THE BANGKOK EXPRESS an enthralling prospect.
A fast-paced international thriller by top Melbourne author of fiction and non-fiction, Roland Perry. This is a sequel to Perry’s first book titled The Honourable Assassin (2015) in a new series of thrillers that incorporate actual events, criminal organisations and key figures in the underworld of Asia as they play out globally, involving international law enforcement and intelligence operations.
The first book in this series, The Honourable Assassin, finishes with freelance secret agent, Victor Cavalier, wondering if his daughter – kidnapped by a notorious Mexican drug warlord – is still alive. Now, in The Assassin on the Bangkok Express, Cavalier has heard that his daughter is alive but is a sex slave for the Mexican drug gang operating in the Golden Triangle.
Through his contacts, he manages to uncover the fact that the Mexicans plan to secretly leave Thailand in the next few days on the Bangkok Express, along with their accumulated fortunes from drugs and sex slave trafficking. Their imminent departure is prompted by intel from their insider contacts that the Americans, led by the CIA and involving Navy Seals, may be closing in on them.
Fearing that his daughter will be taken out of the country along with the booty, Cavalier makes plans to rescue her with whatever it takes.
During the night journey, a professional assassination occurs on the Express which disrupts the Mexicans’ plans and gives Cavalier the chance to see if his daughter is indeed on board. All parties’ plans, however, are about to hit the worst possible obstacle. Tipped off about the huge booty of gold and cash, the IS-linked rebels attempt to hijack the train when it passes through their Muslim stronghold in Malaysia.
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