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A Good Death    by Christopher R. Cox order for
Good Death
by Christopher R. Cox
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Having travelled in Thailand and Laos this year, I was intrigued by this mystery, A Good Death. It takes Boston PI Sebastian Damon to those same countries. He's hired to investigate potential insurance fraud after the intelligent and beautiful Linda Watts dies of a heroin overdose in a seedy Bangkok hotel. Sebastian needs to solve the case to his client's satisfaction, as business has not been good.

Arriving in Bangkok, Damon tells us that Thailand immediately 'plunged you into its labyrinth of heat and intrigue, scents and secrets, traffic and lies.' He's intrigued by the subject of his investigation, who was born in 'an uncharted village in Laos ... the most heavily bombed country in the history of warfare' (despite being neutral during the Vietnamese War). Watts was 'the quintessential immigrant success story', who worked her way up from a welfare childhood to a position as a bank's vice president.

Damon discovers that a young woman did die in the backpacker's hostel, but was it Linda Watts? His dad (back in the States) recommends he contact an old army colleague, Sam Honeyman (ex-Special Forces) for help. Honeyman points out that the dead woman, was not buried in the Katu fashion (the Katu being Linda Watt's aggressive mountain tribe). Damon interviews a powerful police officer, Colonel Nagaphit, who investigated the case though it was not in his normal territory, and who threatens him.

The quest leads Damon and Honeyman, and the requisite femme fatale (searching for her long lost father) to the Central Highlands of Laos, with Colonel Nagaphit on their trail. They journey by plane, boat, and on foot. There are captures and escapes, and finally a good death. If you're interested in an unusual thriller set in exotic locations, then get hold of a copy of Christopher R. Cox's strong debut mystery.

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