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Bangkok Burning


Worth reading 😎

A darkly gripping thriller that brings the brutal streets of Bangkok to life as our protagonist loses himself and then finds his true self.

This book is unlike anything I have read before and I am pleased to say that I really enjoyed it. Newbold's research, knowledge and experience of Bangkok really comes through in the story and brought the city to life, to a point where it became like its own character. A vibrant, dangerous and hedonistic world for individuals to lose themselves in.

Our protagonist Graham is a complex and well-developed character. Initially I struggled to understand his decisions and motivations for his actions however, as the story unfolded and we learned of his backstory and abusive marriage, the pieces fell into place. He is vulnerable in so many ways through his low self esteem and ignorance of the city he has decided to live in. The opportunity to finally be open about his sexuality and fulfill his dream of opening his own club in Bangkok doesn't turn out at all like he expects and we follow him as he becomes embroiled in conflicts with dangerous individuals and is exploited by Natasha, the transsexual woman he loves.

This is a plot driven story with plenty of tension and unexpected moments in the narrative that make you want to keep reading. I became really invested in Graham's journey and I was rooting for him throughout to find his confidence and strength to stand up for himself and seek a better life for his future. It is a bleak read though with very little light among all the darkness. I could have done with some more moments of positivity and happiness to alleviate that a bit and perhaps to give more context for why Graham was so drawn to Bangkok in the first place and determined to stay.

Overall this was a dark and compelling thriller with memorable characters and a book I would recommend for an escapist and gripping read.

Thank you to Reedsy Discovery, The Conrad Press and Robin Newbold for the ARC.

Reviewed by

I have quite a broad taste in books but, in particular, I enjoy reading historical fiction, women's fiction, literary fiction, and classics. I also enjoy some middle grade, romance and contemporary fiction too.

On the run

About the author

Robin Newbold is an author, journalist and freelance travel writer, whose work has appeared in Time Out and Gay Times. His third novel, brilliantly unsettling thriller Bangkok Burning, described by Boyz magazine as a "dark and exotic love story", was published in December 2020 by The Conrad Press. view profile

Published on January 04, 2021

Published by The Conrad Press

80000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: LGBTQ Fiction

Reviewed by