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"The Vincent Calvino series belongs on every Asian crime list."
Booklist

Recent interviews:

Christopher recently spoke at the Pattaya City Expats club. A summary of his talk is reported in the Pattaya Mail
Traversing, June, 2011
Bangkok Post: Tales needing telling
BangkokPodCast
Legal Nomads
Magick Papers & Nightlife Thailand

 

For more Infomation about the Calvino series:

Sam Spade Reincarnated as Bangkok-based PI Vinnie Calvino

 

In the words of Vincent Calvino

Me

I have no attachments. Next life I will make a perfect Buddhist. But in this life I am paying off the karma of a last life. I am an ex-lawyer from New York City. No one gets himself born in New York City without having made some major mistake in the last life. Whatever that mistake was, it was bad enough to cause me to abandon New York City for Bangkok. Flipped from the wok straight into the fire. For the past dozen years, I've been solving crimes in Southeast Asia, keeping and trying not to get burnt.

My Beat

Bangkok. City of Angels. Only most of the halos are tarnished. Their wings are often clipped.

I have been known to take cases just about anywhere in Southeast Asia. For expense and a daily fee. Getting paid is another matter. It’s never been about the money. Although my home turf is Bangkok, I have also taken jobs in Phnom Penh, Saigon and Pattaya, and am always looking to expand my horizon.

No matter where I am tracking down a lead, anytime you take a job in Southeast Asia you can expect to ride a knife’s edge. I spend a lot of time looking for an angle in places that only toss up curves. And curves comes the razor. The rules of geometry don't apply to the curves attached to chrome poles, moving black light to the beat of fast music.

Crime Awards

On 16th September, The Private Eye Writers of America announced that Asia Hand, the second book in the Vincent Calvino private eye series, had won the Shamus Award in the Best Paperback Original category for the Shamus Awards. The Shamus Awards are sponsored annually by the Private Eye Writers of America.

Other literary awards for the Vincent Calvino series:

  • 2004 German Critics Award for Crime Fiction
  • Winner of 2007 Premier Special Director Book Award Semana Negra, Spain

Characters in the City of Angels

My working turf in Bangkok extends from the shopping malls, to Nana Plaza, Patpong, and Soi Cowboy, to the slums of Klong Toey, the racetrack at the Sports Club, and even the swanky shopping malls. My clients are the expats who live and work in Thailand: some live the good life on a fat package, others get by day to day on a nickel and dime. They are the kind of ordinary people who get themselves cheated, or find themselves in a bind or get themselves killed. However you look at it, by the time they or their next of kin walk into my office they are damaged.

My cases involve greed, revenge, and business conflicts—the usual reasons people find themselves in way over their head or on the frontline where the body bags are filled with civilian casualties. In Calvino’s world, most of those who survive don't go home after one tour of duty. They become addicted to the front. Like me, they volunteer for just one more tour.

Staying Alive

Without a guardian angel, I would have been dead a long time ago. Buried. Forgotten. My Shakespeare-quoting buddy Colonel Pratt is my insurance policy. He’s my best friend. Pratt plays the sax, he’s tough, honest and knows the hidden forces, the secret traps, and keeping me alive is his karma. The colonel feels he owes me. His feelings probably come from an old debt of gratitude. I suspect he feels that it is the kind of debt that is so large it can never been paid off. Without Pratt, I would also be out of business and couldn’t survive in the hostile environment of Bangkok.

The Culture

Follow a guidebook to find out where to stay or to get a cheap meal in Bangkok, Phnom Penh or Saigon. Follow me to discover the hidden places where the action throbs 24 hours a day, the small bars and restaurants and back alley short-time hotels that you suspect exist. These are the places you want to experience, you won't find them on any map. And you want to know something about the Thai language, and how the Thais and farangs think about each other, the places they meet, the things they say. On the street there is a way to communicate. I know enough of the language to keep one step ahead of trouble. Or it could be just the right use of body language. Each book features one of my cases. As I said, I just solved a murder and am now on the lookout for a new case to challenge me.

Philip Marlowe Meets Vincent Calvino by Jessica Wader

Jessica Wader is an English student who is studying for her A Level exams. This essay was written by her as part of A Level course requirement and she's given her permission for us to post it on the official Vincent Calvino website. We feel that Jessica has done a fine job in examining the characters, pointing how similar traits and those that are different. (read more)

 

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