NB This post first appeared as part of the Blog Tour for ‘Mongkok Station’ organised by Emma at Damppebbles.
Former Singapore detective Sam Tay is retired. Or at least, that’s the theory. When John August from the American intelligence community asks a favour, Tay doesn’t feel he can refuse. Especially as it involves working with the lovely Claire. Then again, Hong Kong isn’t Tay’s favourite destination and with all the riots and political shenanigans going on, it might be wise to avoid the place.
The difference, of course is that this involves a missing woman and that’s really a detective job—a skill Tay revels in. On the face of it, there’s not much to go on—a woman goes missing from a train station, apparently within sight of a close friend, and then disappears completely. With the possibility of Triad involvement, it may be that this is a straightforward ransom job, but no ransom demand has been made. And then there’s the problem of Tay’s dead mother…
I’m ashamed to say that it’s almost exactly three years since I last read a Jake Needham novel (The Ambassador’s Wife) but thank God I finally got around to reading another one. Mongkok Station is book #6 in the Samuel Tay series and like the first one, it’s a cracker. Mr Needham’s writing is sharp and witty and the character of Sam Tay is so unlike any other detective that you can’t help but keep reading. I loved the awkwardness of his relationship with Claire and the unlikely friendship with Triad boss, Jones, who assists Tay with an unrelated issue (though one that could literally be the death of the former cop).
What’s interesting about this book is that it isn’t just the mystery that keeps the plot rolling along, but the possibility that Sam might not make it to the end of the story. Creating characters that readers applaud simply because of who they are, is no mean feat. Jake Needham is a hell of a writer and, having given myself a good kick in respect of his backlog, I’ll definitely be reading more about Sam Tay—in fact, I’ve just bought book #2, The Umbrella Man. Yey!
A clever and thoughtful read that is simply light years ahead of any other novel in the genre.
About Jake Needham
Jake Needham is an American lawyer who became a screen and television writer through a series of coincidences too ridiculous for anyone to believe. When he realized he didn’t really like movies and television all that much, he started writing crime novels.
Mr. Needham has lived in Asia for thirty years and has published twelve novels that have collectively sold more than three-quarters of a million copies. He, his wife, and their two sons now divide their time between homes in Bangkok and Washington DC.
You can learn more about Mr. Needham and his novels at his official website: http://www.JakeNeedhamNovels.com.