Review: Ghost Money by Andrew Nette

Title: Ghost Money

Author: Andrew Nette

Published: Snubnose Press August 2012

Status: Read from April 19 to 20, 2013 — I own a copy{Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Early last year I read and very much enjoyed Hard Labour, an anthology of crime writing by Australian authors. After that review, the editor, Andrew Nette, asked if I would be willing to read Ghost Money, which I believe is his first full length published novel.

Introducing ex-cop turned private investigator Max Quinlan on the trail of missing Australian businessman, Charles Avery, Ghost Money is a gritty detective novel set in the late ’90’s. Quinlan, employed by the missing man’s wealthy sister, begins his search in Thailand, the scene of his past professional disgrace, but soon discovers Avery has fled to Cambodia. Following the man’s trail, Quinlan enlists the assistance of an ambitious Australian journalist and his interpreter, Sarin, only to find himself the target of ruthless killers and treasure hunters.

Quinlan, born of a wartime liaison between his Vietnamese mother and soldier father, was raised in Australia after his mother’s death. Orphaned after his father’s suicide, Quinlan eventually joined the police force where his Eurasian appearance was both a help and a hindrance to his job. It was his role in a failed joint operation in Thailand that essentially put an end to his career and after Quinlan resigned from the force, he began to take on missing persons cases.
There is a nice depth to Quinlan, though at times his motivations are questionable. I don’t quite understand why Quinlan doesn’t simply walk away when his search for Avery puts his own life at risk nor why he insists on walking blindly into a number of easily discernible traps. That being said, I like that Quinlan is a man with limits, he makes mistakes but keeps moving forward, doing his best for his client.

Of the supporting cast it is Sarin I found most interesting, the Khmer translator chooses to become embroiled in Quinlan’s mission and proves to be a helpful guide. The romantic element involving Sarin’s sister and an American archivist wasn’t particularly strong and largely irrelevant to the story.

Nette spent several years in Cambodia and his knowledge of the country’s politics informs his character’s experiences. Though I did think Nette was in danger of overwhelming the narrative with facts at times, his insights into the Cambodian conflict are fascinating, particularly regarding the legacy the Khmer Rouge. A particular strength of the novel is the author’s portrayal of the landscape of South East Asia, from it’s seedy urban centers, to the areas of grinding rural poverty.

Ghost Money takes the reader into a world of violence, betrayal and corruption with twists and turns leading through the gritty underworld of south east Asia. If you enjoy noir detective novels and are interested in something different, then you should take a chance on this interesting thriller.

Available To Purchase

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. harvee
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 21:50:14

    I like the setting and the mystery of this one. Looks good.

    Like

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Ghost Money (Crime Wave, 2015) | P.J.Coggan

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