This is a Book Review!
Private Dancer, written by well known author Stephen Leather, is not available for sale, but available from this website (and the authors) as a free download! At the end, Leather indicates, that his publisher was unwilling to publish this one as it was to different from the thrillers that he usually writes.
It is a very cleverly fabricated story, relating to a journalist (Pete) who comes to Bangkok to work and who falls in love with Joy, a dancer at a bar in Nana Plaza. She is to become his “private dancer” which comes the title of the book.
What sets this manuscript apart from the overdone “farang falls in love with bar girl” is that Stephen Leather gives the side of the central character Pete, and then follows that up with the thoughts of the girl Joy. After that, at various important milestones at the relationship, other people are brought in who give their impressions of whats going on.
These people include Pete’s boss Alistair, the owner of a bar called Big Ron, whom Leather admits is well knows identity Big Dave, and the bar called Fatso’s is Big Dave’s establishment called Jool’s on Soi 4 Sukhumvit (as anyone who has ever been there would pick immediately). Others who give their opinion include Pete’s friends, his flat-mate and even the owner of Joy’s bar, who is even more cynical then Big Ron.
Where Stephen Leather has excelled with this manuscript is in his understanding of the Thai viewpoint. And to then put it down in print. There will be those who will say that a farang can never get inside the mind of the Thais. Perhaps not, but the book of Stephen Leather’s must go damn close. Close enough for me! Take for example the words from Joy after Pete rang her in her room to say that he had been talking to Park, her Thai husband. “Park was in my room when Pete telephoned. I asked Park what he was playing at, and he said he didn’t know what I was talking about. I got angry then and said that he spoiled everything. He had no right to talk to Pete, he was my customer.” And it all hangs on that last word!
This is the best book you cannot buy. When it was given to me, the previous downloader said that it should be compulsory reading for all single males before arrival in Thailand. My logical mind would agree, but love and logic only start with the same letter, and that is where the similarity ends. The world is populated with Pete’s, about whom Big Ron states, “Was I surprised at what happened to Pete? Of course I (expletive) wasn’t. He was on the road to ruin as soon as he let her get to him. A lost cause.”
As an added benefit, there are some good recipes running right through the book, as that had been Pete’s brief, writing a cook book. In the end you will see just whose goose gets cooked! Brilliant book. Leather’s publishers are crazy to let this one escape!
For a FREE download of this book, please press here (Adobe Reader is required to view the file)
Do note that this post were written for my old blog in January 2005 and later moved here. After I wrote it the book have been published and can be bought in Thailand. Or you can simply download it for free here as PDF.