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Andrew Nette created an original, but bloody, story Enjoyed it The cruise through Southeast Asia made the context interesting. Most accounts of the war in Cambodia treat it as a cola to the Vietnam conflict but it s central to this kindle book There were similarities jungle based communist guerrillas fighting against a government backed by western powers The differences came to light once the rebels took power in Vietnam, the war could be sold as one of reunification with the south to the north In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge guerrillas had nothing to restrain them They spent two destructive years emptying out Cambo Most accounts of the war in Cambodia treat it as a cola to the Vietnam conflict but it s central to this kindle book There were similarities jungle based communist guerrillas fighting against a government backed by western powers The differences came to light once the rebels took power in Vietnam, the war could be sold as one of reunification with the south to the north In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge guerrillas had nothing to restrain them They spent two destructive years emptying out Cambodia s cities trying to turn the country into a peasant state What resulted was one of the worst genocides in history It only came to an end when Vietnam invaded from the east and installed their own puppet government.Ghost Money by Australian crime writer Anderew Nette takes place during the late 90 s in Cambodia Max Quinlan, an ex cop turned people finder, travels to Thailand looking for the estranged brother of a wealthy Australian woman His quarry, Charles Avery, had raised a lot of cash from his friends to finance a gem mining operation on the Thai Cambodian border He s disappeared and the sister wants to know what happened to him.Max is a very interesting figure he s Eurasian the product of a liaison between an Australian soldier and a Vietnamese woman in the 60 s Although he physically favors his mother, Max has grown up entirely westernized and has little knowledge of anything Asian As a cop, he was valued for his physical appearance which helped in raiding Asian drug cartels in Australia But Max quit the force and went private when his obsession with an anti drug enforcement task in Thailand resulted in the death of a friend.Max soon finds himself in Cambodia, still on the trail of Avery His objective has been mixed up with western mercenaries and local gangsters To make things complicated, the book takes place before the death of the Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, right as the new government in is trying to amnesty the last few remaining guerrillas in the jungle.Max has a tendency to push for answers, even if he lacks much of a hand to play Coming along to help him is his interpreter Heng Sarin, who has memories of his own from the death camps Along the way we learn about the tragic, recent history of Cambodia It isn t very pretty, but it makes for a compelling story.I won t reveal much about the ending to this book, but it makes the entire read worthwhile Ghost Money takes a bit to get going, but the novel becomes hard to put down after the first few chapters Drawing on his experience as a journalist in the 1990 s in South East Asia, Nette succeeds in constructing a highly readable thriller against the backdrop of a country, in this instance Cambodia, in its recovery from one of the most heinous periods of world history Into this melting pot, comes Max Quinlan, a half Vietnamese, half Australian besmirched ex cop, on the trail of a missing Australian businessman, Charles Avery, whose sister has comissioned Max to track down her errant brother On hi Drawing on his experience as a journalist in the 1990 s in South East Asia, Nette succeeds in constructing a highly readable thriller against the backdrop of a country, in this instance Cambodia, in its recovery from one of the most heinous periods of world history Into this melting pot, comes Max Quinlan, a half Vietnamese, half Australian besmirched ex cop, on the trail of a missing Australian businessman, Charles Avery, whose sister has comissioned Max to track down her errant brother On his arrival in Bangkok, a city that bore witness to the end of Max s police career Quinlan discovers Avery s business partner murdered and no sign of the shady gem dealing shyster that is Charles Avery Through his less than reputable contacts Quinlan gets wind of Avery hightailing it to Cambodia, and enlisting the help of an ambitious Australian reporter, and his Cambodian translator, Sarin, Quinlan enters a world defined by the socio political upheaval of its past and into the path of some extrememly mercenary and pretty unpleasant characters as he seeks to discover the whereabouts of the elusive Avery I think most of us are familiar with the bloody events that have defined Cambodia s history through films such as The Killing Fields , but throughout the course of this book I learnt a great dealabout the former pervasive grip of the Khmer Rouge, and a country struggling for reunification and peace, after the well documented genocide and the lingering existence of hardline Khmer Rouge foot soldiers The book is filled with information regarding Cambodia s years of turmoil which, when being narrated through the experiences of the Cambodian protagonists, is very powerful indeed Through the character of Sarin and his sister in particular, we gain a huge insight into the tearing apart of Cambodian society and the familial loss that so many citizens encountered, as the era of persecution set in Nette also effectively references the efforts made to gather all the documentation and first hand accounts of the atrocities as a lasting testament to the evil that men do in their grasp for power One of the small criticisms, I have of the book, and perhaps this is influenced by Nette s journalistic background, is that sometimes there is just too much non fictional input, that for me at times, did interupt the natural flow of the story However, generally I think the strength of the writing resided in Nette s ability to conjur up the sense of location and atmosphere that formed the backdrop for the thrust of the story Nette neatly constructs powerful tableaus to the reader from the grubby world of the seedy ex patriates, to a no holds barred boxing match, to the relentless grind and poverty of rural Cambodia His grasp of description adds strength to the assured central plotting so as a reader you really get a sense of the atmosphere and landscape of the region, especially the jungle terrain and rural outposts controlled by the remaining factions of the Khmer Rouge In the character of Quinlan and his mixed heritage, Nette also gets the chance to sidestep into the world of Vietnam, and how Quinlan s upbringing in Australia and the natural suspicion of the Cambodians to his half Vietnamese background, has influenced and defined his life and people s reactions to him Throughout the book Quinlan is depicted as a tough and resilient man, but imbued with a sense of morality that lays him bare in his defence of others I enjoyed the gradual trusting relationship that developed across cultural boundaries between him and Cambodian translator Sarin, and thought this realistically portrayed The overall plotting was good and the story, with the intermittent hiatus into Cambodian history, was very engaging for the reader, as Quinlan comes up against and takes on, some very sinister and violent individuals in his search for Avery The plot does veer off a little at the end into an almost Indiana Jones quest, and I found the ending a tad abrupt, but neither of these minor criticisms was enough for me to leave the book with a feeling of disatisfaction when viewed in the light of the strength of what had gone before I would definitely recommend this thriller to other readers and on this showing, Nette is an author that I would happily seek out again and another welcome addition to the Australian crime stable Start out reading GHOST MONEY and you re quickly immersed in a tight, tough, noir story set mostly in Cambodia But don t be surprised if at some point, you also find yourself right smack bang in the middle of a history lesson and a subtle exploration of racial politics.Knowing a little of Nette s interest in pulp fiction, I confess that the taut, noir stylings of GHOST MONEY didn t come as any surprise whatsoever, so for this reader, what was most rewarding about the book was the unexpected com Start out reading GHOST MONEY and you re quickly immersed in a tight, tough, noir story set mostly in Cambodia But don t be surprised if at some point, you also find yourself right smack bang in the middle of a history lesson and a subtle exploration of racial politics.Knowing a little of Nette s interest in pulp fiction, I confess that the taut, noir stylings of GHOST MONEY didn t come as any surprise whatsoever, so for this reader, what was most rewarding about the book was the unexpected complexity of the central character, Max Quinlan As well as one hell of a plot that just does not let go.In a testament to the power of the storytelling there s something very matter of fact about the son of a Vietnamese woman and an Australian Vietnam vet as an ex cop, a specialist in finding people who would rather stay lost It also seems to go without saying that Quinlan, despite his lack of extensive PI experience, and his own misgivings, would find himself in SE Asia looking for the once successful Melbourne lawyer Charles Avery Who is now a missing, dodgy gems trader whose sister wants to know what happened to her brother It doesn t come as any surprise at all that Quinlan would follow the clues to post Khmer Rouge Cambodia and right smack bang into the madness of a country still recovering from the extremes of that regime.What s also frighteningly matter of fact and at the same time very revealing, is the nature of the world in which Quinlan moves The tension between Cambodian and Vietnamese, the vulnerability of people in a society that s been so brutalised, the casual way in which life is regarded as dispensable, and the greed and self interest Quinlan survives because of his own background, because he can read people, because he can see things and people for exactly what they are And because he s careful about who he allows to get close.It s one thing to know the theoretical history of a place, it s another completely to see the outcomes from within, to experience the result from the point of view of a direct observer or participant That is part of what s so clever about GHOST MONEY In the character of Quinlan, Nette has created a very realistic dichotomy A man with an Asian look, yet his knowledge of his Vietnamese mother is non existent Australian raised, by a man who was profoundly damaged Thai speaking, but looking enough Vietnamese to be regarded as suspicious by the Cambodians, there s so much about this man that demonstrates perfectly the complexities of the Vietnamese Cambodian Australian experience Pairing him with Sarin, a Cambodian who has had direct and devastating experience of the Khmer Rouge, who remains in his damaged and difficult country, desperately trying to find a way to continue to survive, he s realistic and considered He s all too aware of the difference between the reality and western perception of Cambodia, he s not an observer, he is the experience.Great characters are one thing, but stick them into a plot that is not just realistic, but tight and fast moving, and frankly, nerve racking, and something else starts to happen Again, there was something so matter of fact about the lows that people will sink too when it comes to greed and self interest, the way that loyalties shift and personal gain remains paramount that was chilling, especially when you match that up with the extreme violence of whatever it takes to win attitudes Fingers crossed GHOST MONEY is the start of a new series.http www.austcrimefiction.org revie Andrew Nette spent a number of years in Cambodia as a journalist in the 1990s and it shows The real strength of Ghost Money is the sense of place and historical contextualisation Nette drops the reader into the landscape, culture and politics of the country, without it dominating the story, and one gets a real sense of what ordinary people have been through during various regimes and the unsettled legacy they now find themselves in And he does a good job at detailing how an outsider such as Q Andrew Nette spent a number of years in Cambodia as a journalist in the 1990s and it shows The real strength of Ghost Money is the sense of place and historical contextualisation Nette drops the reader into the landscape, culture and politics of the country, without it dominating the story, and one gets a real sense of what ordinary people have been through during various regimes and the unsettled legacy they now find themselves in And he does a good job at detailing how an outsider such as Quinlan negotiates this complex terrain The story itself is a relatively standard search for a missing person who doesn t want to be found and has got themselves into a situation they can t handle The plot unfolds with some twists and turns as Quinlan homes in on his target, despite the various threats and warnings given to him There were a couple of things that didn t seem to quite sit right, however The first was Quinlan s naivety he was an experienced ex cop, yet he wanders into really dangerous situations with no real forethought The second was motivation I couldn t understand why Quinlan was willing to risk his life to find Avery, a man he has no connection to or affinity with other than he was hired to do the job, and why he didn t just walk away In general, the characterisation is fine, though Quinlan and the other central actors were somewhat skin deep, their back story substituting for personality and character at times Other than those quibbles, the story rattles along as a real page turner Overall, an entertaining and informative story that gives a real sense of Cambodia in the mid 1990s I really wanted to like this book because it is written by someone who lives in the same town as mebut I just couldn t Ghost Money is ostensibly the story of a private detective searching for a missing Australian businessman in Cambodia but so much of it feels like a history lecture and I do mean lecture that I often forgot that we were supposed to be on the lookout for a missing person.I m not sure if it was a terrible ebook conversion or just poor editing but the book was littered with s I really wanted to like this book because it is written by someone who lives in the same town as mebut I just couldn t Ghost Money is ostensibly the story of a private detective searching for a missing Australian businessman in Cambodia but so much of it feels like a history lecture and I do mean lecture that I often forgot that we were supposed to be on the lookout for a missing person.I m not sure if it was a terrible ebook conversion or just poor editing but the book was littered with spelling errors and missing words, so much so that I started to wonder if it had actually been written by someone for whom English wasn t their first language and had then been lumped with the worst copyeditor in the world.On my feminist pedestal for a moment there are absolutely no complex female characters in this book.Off my feminist pedestal now I don t think there were any truly complex characters in this book I didn t particularly like the main character he seemed like a stereotype and a whiner and by the end I was kind of hoping he would die But, of course, at every opportunity the villains had to kill him, he miraculously and implausibly would be set free to continue with the story.Perhaps the only redeeming feature for me was that the mythical treasure they were all searching for by the end of the book missing person storyline was over and done with didn t end up in the hands of any of the unworthy characters in the book.If you have a special interest in Cambodian or Asian history, perhaps this might interest you, but if you re just looking for a good action adventure thriller mystery etc, there s plenty of other books I d recommend before Ghost Money A private investigator of Australian Vietnamese heritage is hired to find a wealthy Australian woman s missing brother last sighted in Bangkok.He arrives in Thailand only to find a dead man in the hotel room of the man he s been hired to find.From personal items he uncovers in the room he determines that the missing man has fled to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.This novel is set amid the chaos of the post Khmer Rouge regime in 1996 twenty years after the Cambodian civil war Fully armed units of the K A private investigator of Australian Vietnamese heritage is hired to find a wealthy Australian woman s missing brother last sighted in Bangkok.He arrives in Thailand only to find a dead man in the hotel room of the man he s been hired to find.From personal items he uncovers in the room he determines that the missing man has fled to Phnom Penh in Cambodia.This novel is set amid the chaos of the post Khmer Rouge regime in 1996 twenty years after the Cambodian civil war Fully armed units of the Khmer Rouge Army are still assembled throughout the mountains of western Cambodia at this time, operating from bases in Thailand and maintaining organized resistance against the government.Foreign mercenaries, various countries secret agents, home grown insurgents, foreign newspaper reporters and villains of every stripe abound.Andrew Nette has done an outstanding job researching the history of Southeast Asia.Unless they ve seen the harrowing film THE KILLING FIELDS, most Americans are ignorant of the events that transpired following our disastrous incursion into Cambodia near the end of our war in Vietnam.Part of what drives this novel is the wealth of information provided on the rarely discussed events in the decades following our wars in Vietnam and Cambodia and the resonating devastation that fell on the people of the region..The author has set up the usual P I missing persons case featuring intermittent violence and brutality in an exotic and dangerous locale during an almost forgotten era.The main character s ethnicity and the historic context make this a unique and intriguing read.Recommended Ghost Money was selected by our book club and was an immensely enjoyable It generated wide ranging discussion and plot kept me turning the pages way after I should have turned the light out Great sense of being there and it invoked clear images and even smells of location and time The crime setting was a terrific vehicle to draw out the political history and the ongoing impact of the Khmer Rouge The character of Quinlan was a clever way to introduce the tension between Vietnamese and Cambodi Ghost Money was selected by our book club and was an immensely enjoyable It generated wide ranging discussion and plot kept me turning the pages way after I should have turned the light out Great sense of being there and it invoked clear images and even smells of location and time The crime setting was a terrific vehicle to draw out the political history and the ongoing impact of the Khmer Rouge The character of Quinlan was a clever way to introduce the tension between Vietnamese and Cambodians, a history lesson that we all appreciated Small snippets of Quinlan s experience of growing up in Melbourne also sparked discussion of our own cultural tensions Definitely one of our best selections Synopsis blurb..Cambodia, 1996, the long running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of an unstable coalition government scrambling to gain the upper hand Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex cop Max Quinlan.But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking Teaming up with Heng Sarin, a local journalist, Quinlan s search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battl Synopsis blurb..Cambodia, 1996, the long running Khmer Rouge insurgency is fragmenting, competing factions of an unstable coalition government scrambling to gain the upper hand Missing in the chaos is businessman Charles Avery Hired to find him is Vietnamese Australian ex cop Max Quinlan.But Avery has made dangerous enemies and Quinlan is not the only one looking Teaming up with Heng Sarin, a local journalist, Quinlan s search takes him from the freewheeling capital Phnom Penh to the battle scarred western borderlands As the political temperature soars, he is slowly drawn into a mystery that plunges him into the heart of Cambodia s bloody past.Ghost Money is a crime novel, but it s also about Cambodia in the mid nineties, a broken country, and what happens to people who are trapped in the cracks between two periods of history, locals and foreigners, the choices they make, what they do to survive Ghost Money is a fast paced, atmospheric crime novel Its journey into a cynical and treacherous world is tense and suspenseful Garry DisherGhost Money was a first for me Whilst I have previously read a lot of books both fact and fiction concerning the conflict of the 60 s and 70 s in Vietnam, I never extended my reading vistas to encompass other areas of South East Asia, although I m not too sure how many other crime fiction books there are set in Cambodia.Ghost Money was an eye opener for me Nette, with his debut novel, drags Cambodia and the horrors of the Khmer Rouge back into the daylight 30 odd years after the horrors of Pol Pot and his followers have been largely forgotten by the rest of the world.The novel, set in Cambodia in the mid 90 s, is as much a history lesson as it is a crime novel Nette displays empathy for the Cambodian people and the harsh brutalities that have been inflicted on them by a succession of oppressors or liberators..forced migration and genocide, American carpet bombing, Vietnamese invasion and occupation, on going civil war, refugee camps, Soviet interest and abandonment, UN lip service and ultimately worldwide apathy and indifference once the news reels had changed their focus and moved on.The crime element has Quinlan, ex cop turned PI hired to find an Australian businessman, Charles Avery Avery, suspected of murder in Thailand is tracked by Quinlan to Phnom Penh Quinlan enlists local and Aussie ex pat help in his efforts to unravel Avery s whereabouts Avery with dodgy business dealings in gems and a fake mine has annoyed his fellow entrepreneurs Unfortunately for Avery and now Quinlan several of these erstwhile partners have psychopathic personalities and an aversion to being played Quinlan ends up in a battle to save himself from being added to the death toll, in a country where life is cheap and can be bought for a few dollars.Bloody, pacey, intriguing and educational I enjoyed this journey through Cambodia in the capable hands of the author I ll be keeping an eye out for his next offering whenever that comes about.4 from 5I obtained a review copy from the author himself.http col2910.blogspot.co.uk 2013 02 `DOWNLOAD PDF ☉ Ghost Money ☔ Max Quinlan is an Australian ex cop turned PI whose latest case is to find missing business Charles Avery The trail leads to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia Along the way Max will team up with an Australian journalist and his Cambodian translator to track Avery through the underbelly of the city and beyond