“Graham Greene meets the Marx Brothers” in a comic thriller of “unquiet Americans on the loose in Thailand” (Tom Drury, author of Pacific).
Turk Henry is an overweight, beer-swilling rock star married to a supermodel and rich beyond his wildest dreams. Right now his pampered paunch is plopped on the beach in Phuket, the last place a recovering sex addict should go on vacation, surrounded by topless groupies and luscious bar girls. But Turk’s struggles with monogamy pale beside a greater challenge when his wife is abducted by a group of renegade Thai pirates.
The US government won’t help, and the law forbids Turk from paying the ransom. With life skills limited to playing bass and partying, Turk must now navigate the back alleys of Bangkok and the deadly jungles of Southeast Asia to save his wife—and he’s sweating bullets every step of the way.
Featuring skinflint tourists, a hypochondriac US government agent, a horny Australian commando, venal publicists, and a nest of resourceful prostitutes, this NPR “100 Best Beach Books Ever” pick “mix[es] laughs and satire like a cross between Carl Hiaasen and Ross Thomas” (Entertainment Weekly).
“Cheerfully skewer[s] Homeland Security, heavy metal, compromised Hollywood morals, American arrogance, fetishes and anything else worth taking a shot at.” —The Miami Herald
“Rare for a work of American fiction . . . An exquisitely written thriller that is as entertaining as it is intelligent.” —Walter Reichert, Entertainment World
Staking out uncomfortable territory between gonzo humor and something far more serious, this thrill-packed romp from novelist (Moist; Delicious) and screenwriter Smith is set primarily in Thailand. While vacationing, unemployed rock star Turk Henry, a recovering sex addict, tries to avoid the temptations of his many fans, a predicament sent up beautifully by Smith. Meanwhile, Turk's wife, Sheila, takes a group tour elephant ride only to have her party kidnapped by Captain Somporn and his violent band of former narcotics policemen. The novel alternates between explicit sex scenes involving Turk and the fairly severe acts of violence against Sheila and her fellow tourists. As the situation turns deadly, Turk has to rouse himself to save his wife, a challenge that Smith manages to make more meaningful than just one man's waking from a cosseted cocoon. Humor and suspense rub up against each other uneasily throughout, but Smith's writing is sharp, and Turk makes a blundering, contradictory and very compelling lead.