Friday Noir: Kiss Kiss Phnom Penh
“The two men entered through a winding dirt path lined on either side by gutters grey with rainwater and effluent. The slum stank of smoke, sweat, excrement and the anxiety of poor people packed together. A group of men playing cards on the ground glanced up then back. Faces peered out of doorways and children jumped out to shout ‘hello’.”
That scene is 153 pages into Andrew Nette’s novel titled Ghost Money. He’s over 100 pages in the story and still setting scenes like that. Remarkable.
Full transparency…I’ve been reading Andrew’s blog for a couple of years now. He and his writing has turned me on to numerous books and films that, sadly, I’ve missed in my short but long life. We also both seem to share an affinity for the pulp novels and the gritty crime and caper films of the ’70s.
Then, last October, in the City of Brotherly Love, I had the chance to meet Andrew at NoirCon there, and do a super-quick photoshoot with him. I showed my work here, and I think I delivered some good shots that he liked.
Ghost Money takes place in Cambodia, circa 1996. It’s a tight, well-written crime fiction vehicle. After reading it, I wanted to learn more about the Khmer Rouge, and watch Mel Gibson in The Killings Fields again.
Andrew has certainly done his homework and his research. He knows the people and the locales (He did live in Southeast Asia for six years). The novel comes alive with his descriptions, but you have to pay attention to the characters and scenes. Plus, the ending was a bit of a surprise to me
I really enjoyed Ghost Money, and glad to have met Andrew. As a thank you to him, I wanted to celebrate the book, Jersey Noir style.
Four stars. Seek it out, and add it to your summer reading list.
Remember…tough guys do read.
* Title of this post is a play on this movie. Not sure why, just is.
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2015