Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kiwi crime: THE RED ROOM

One of my favourite things is to come across new-to-me New Zealand authors who've chosen to write tales of crime, mystery, and suspense. It's great to see creative types from our part of the world choosing to write crime fiction stories, as I think it's a terrific genre that can provide thrills, excitement, entertainment, but also thoughtfulness, and wonderful writing. While 'detective fiction' as it's thought of nowadays has been around for less than two centuries, tales of crime and intrigue date back to our earliest storytellers, and are found in cultures across the globe throughout history.

This week I stumbled upon Cambridge-based author Warren Olson, who seems to have lead a very interesting life prior to picking up the authorial pen. Prior to returning to New Zealand for Masters studies, and now lecturing in strategic studies and cross-cultural interviewing as well as maintaining sporting, voluntary, and other interests, Olson worked as a private investigator in Thailand for many years. The picture above right is of All Blacks captain Ritchie McCaw alongside Olson and his daughter. McCaw has a copy of Olson's book THAI PRIVATE EYE, which was a non-fiction account of some of Olson's most shocking true stories from his investigations.

Olson now also writes detective fiction set in his old stomping ground of Thailand, and this year has released THE RED ROOM, his latest thriller starring private eye Kenny Jones. Here's the blurb:
In downtown Bangkok there is a Red Room where bad things happen; sometimes consensual, sometimes not. All of it is captured and sold for viewing pleasure.  
An elegant Thai woman in her final year as a law student disappears after meeting a handsome DEA agent. Fearing the worst, her wealthy Russian boyfriend pleads with Kenny Jones, Private Detective, to find her. Amidst a backdrop of voyeurism, violence and illicit sex, Kenny wades through the dark undercurrent of the Bangkok night to uncover much more than is openly on show in the red light zone. 
The Red Room is based on a real life case file from Thailand’s most famous Private Detective, Warren Olson, and is the third novel in the acclaimed Kenny Jones series. 

I have really enjoyed the Thailand set crime novels of John Burdett, Timothy Hallinan, and New Zealander Andrew Grant, so I'm curious about THE RED ROOM and Olson's Kenny Jones series. There is something intoxicating and fascinating about that part of the world. It's a great setting for thrillers.

You can read more about Warren Olson and his books at his Good Reads page here, and in a recent interview with The Phuket Times here.

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