Sunday, October 10, 2010

Permanent Damage

By Dean Barrett
Village East Books Florida
ISBN: 978-0-9788888-2-4
392 pages

Scott Sterling is a washed-up detective barely surviving. He manages to live by living cheaply in Thailand above a bar and giving scuba lessons to tourists. He doesn’t think much about returning to the states in that he enjoys this lifestyle. He was introduced to this area as an ex-CIA operative in Vietnam. He has found that his former skills and training are perfect for being a private detective in Bangkok, Thailand.

Kylie Winters wants to hire Scott to investigate her father’s death many years ago. Supposedly, her father’s death was considered to be a suicide, but with the disappearance of bearer bonds worth millions and his gorgeous lover, Kylie wants answers to many questions. She is convinced that Jiab, the lover, killed her father for the bonds. . She wants this woman found and will pay by the day. Since Scott is in need of money, he agrees to take this investigation.

The adventure has intrigue, twists, and turns. The characters are believable and the investigation is written is such a manner that is realistic. This is a fast-paced, high-adventure novel. The references to the former events in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand are accurate and pull the reader into the history of this region.

Most people understand that chic books are for females favoring those in their late teens and early twenties. Like this specific genre, PERMANENT DAMAGE is for Vietnam vets who even today daydream about the beauty of Thailand’s women. In blunt terms, this is a guy novel for Vietnam veterans. Yes, it can be read by those outside of this specific description, but it is obvious that there is a targeted readership.

Even though I am not in his intended readership audience, I enjoyed this novel with the constant intrigue and twists throughout the investigation. The motion of this is almost a narrative from Scott Sterling in remembering the involvement of the C.I.A. many years ago. This picture into the past was hypnotic with real events at the end of the war.

I was bothered by the lack of editing in the first half of this novel. With the usage of numerous acronyms, multiple errors in capitalization were distracting from the story. The second half of the novel had no obvious errors which made the reading more enjoyable and faster.

Dean Barrett has written numerous novels based in Thailand such as KINGDOM OF MAKE-BELIEVE, MEMOIRS OF A BANGKOK WARRIOR, SKYTRAIN IN MURDER, and IDENTITY THEFT. Those which are set in China are HANGMAN’S POINT, MISTRESS OF THE EAST, and DRAGON SLAYER. He has also written a musical set in Hong Kong, FRAGMENT HARBOUR and the additional novels of MURDER IN CHINA RED and DON QUIXOTE IN CHINA: THE SEARCH FOR PEACH BLOSSOM SPRING. He bases these books on his life as a Chinese linguist and has lived and traveled in Asia for thirty years.

PERMANENT DAMAGE leaves a permanent impression of the ending of the Vietnam War as well as what happened to those who stayed behind. This is definitely well-worth reading for everyone.

Teri Davis October 10, 2010

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