sturgeonslawyer (sturgeonslawyer) wrote,
sturgeonslawyer
sturgeonslawyer

The Aggrieved Parties, by Mike Guest (2019-45)

Kind of a thriller, sort of, not really, but in that neighborhood.

Also, parts of it may be a bit triggery. You have been warned.
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When Phany Som was a little girl in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, she saw a neighbor and two others beat and torture her father; this led to their desperate escape, along with her mother, to neighboring Thailand and ultimately to the US. In the present she works in Cambodia for UNESCO, as does her lover Thom.

Alder Noren, an Australian, lives in Japan with his Japanese wife Remi and their daughter. They might as well be estranged; indeed, Remi has procured the services of the Pintan detective agency (Ping-On Tsu, proprietor) to get the goods on him: She is sure he is having an affair. (He isn't,but he does "pay for play" at a local business supplying, ah, specialized personal services.) Also, he has met Phany professionally and they quickly became friends.

When Alder loses his job in bad circumstances, he decides to disappear and hires one CD Derkatch, of "Strategic Solutions" in Thailand, to help him make the break.

But there is a tie between Strategic Solutions, which also fences stolen artifacts from Cambodia, and the man who nearly killed Phany's father. 

The situation is rife. Everybody is aggrieved, and some are out for revenge - and some of them get it. Whether it makes them happy is another question.

The plotting here is as tight as you could ask for, with everything coming to a head at the same time (because that's how thriller-type-things work, when they work at all). The characters are vivid and, while most of them aren't exactly _likeable_, they are identifiable, which is more important. The last 50 pages or so kept me up well past my bedtime.

The writing is "clear," almost never getting in the way (except for a few spots early on where the writer unnecessarily addresses the reader directly). Guest uses the "omniscient third person", but uses it responsibly: we always know whose mind we're supposed to be in.

This is one great ride.
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