Synopses & Reviews
Dark magic and dark pasts haunt the characters in these short stories set in mysterious, exotic Thailand.
Ghosts and spirits and the real-life terror of despair besiege the pages of The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand, horror stories by award-winning writer and longtime Thailand resident Jim Algie. In these tales you'll meet:
- A photojournalist who is literally haunted by the images of everyone he ever failed or exploited while getting a story.
- A drug trafficker-turned-writer who confronts vulnerability in his hard-as-nails partner in crime.
- An executioner who explores the nature of violence in a painful search for loving kindness.
For these characters, the naturally lush, deeply spiritual, and excitingly urban Thailand that is there home is also a place full of demons, a place where desperation is another word for normal. Each story follows their attempts to push through and make sense of the many different shades of darkness. The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand
warps the boundaries between the conceivable and the bizarre, and proves that the surreal can seem very real indeed.
A resident of Thailand since 1992, travel writer (and one-time punk rocker, cable TV host, college DJ, and music journalist) Jim Algie taps into Thailand's ethos from a very unique perspective. He offers readers the best elements from the worlds of both supernatural and horror fiction.
"Many people write about Thailand these days, but very few have the depth and breadth of Jim Algie. With the persistence of a seasoned journalist and the skill of a born story-teller he takes us places and reveals truths that lesser authors cannot begin to match." #8212;John Burdett, author of Bangkok 8
"Jim Algie's elegant, clean prose style delivers the cultural goods inside Southeast Asia with a great deal of wit and charm. These memorable stories spotlight the frontiers inhabited by the supernatural, backpackers, killers, legends, bar girl dreams, and customer nightmares. The stories map the boundary line between the Thais and the foreigners who live, work and die among them. And Algie has the talent to breathe fresh life and meaning into the conflicts that arise when the inevitable misunderstanding happens and a foreigner steps over the line." —Christopher G. Moore, author of the prize-winning Vincent Calvino mystery series
"Thai expatriate Algie (Bizarre Thailand: Tails of Crime, Sex and Black Magic) reveals the seedy underbelly of his adopted country in this dark collection of erotically charged tales set in contemporary Bangkok and environs. Dispelling any doubt that Thai sex trade is flourishing, many of the stories describe how poverty and lack of education leave local women with no other way to earn a living. Even educated women struggle for independence, as is evidenced in "The Phantom Lover," which opens in an abortion clinic, and follows the uneasy friendship of two college coeds named Benz and Ying. Since abortion is illegal in Thailand, the atmosphere is fraught and Benz is haunted by the spirit of the "smoke child", whom she must appease. "The Legendary Nobody," offers one take of the true story of a Chinese rickshaw driver now known as the Jack the Ripper of Southeast Asia. Closing the collection is the novella-length "Tsunami," in which Yves, a Canadian tourist, must face his wife's infidelity in the midst of the 2004 natural disaster. With graphic scenes involving golf clubs, prostitutes, cannibals, and rapists, this book is not for the reader with a "heart as soft as tofu. —Publishers Weekly
"The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand is perfect for those who want a fun crash course in the darker side of Thailand and its myths, superstitions and folklore. …Phantom entertains as well as informs, and is a great paperback for holidaymakers or indeed anybody who seeks some substance behind the Thai smile. "—The Bangkok Post
"… often fiction is the only way to tell the truth about Thailand…" —The Phuket News
"The overall success of Phantom Lover cannot be denied, however. The book is at times intensely thought-provoking. What happens the rest of the time will guarantee every reader a few lost nights of sleep." —The Nation
About the Author
Jim Algie's short fiction has been included in the Bram Stoker-winning Extremes 2: Fantasy and Horror from the Ends of the Earth. His non-fiction work Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic chronicles the dark side of the country and its strangest tourist attractions. He has contributed to Time Out and The International Herald Tribune, and recently authored Tuttle Travel Pack Thailand.