Title: Gaijin Cowgirl by Jame DiBiasio
Published March 8, 2013; Crime Wave Press
Genre: adventure, mystery, international crime fiction
My comments: I enjoyed the daredevil actions of this "cowgirl" working in Tokyo as a bar hostess. Though the daughter of a U.S. Congressman, Val Benson is avoiding her father from whom she is estranged and has fled to Tokyo, where she meets a strange but powerful Japanese man who wants to paint her for an enormous amount of money, which she finds hard to refuse. A shootout at the man's home leads to Val finding and keeping an old map that leads to treasure stolen by the Japanese man in Southeast Asia during the war.
The story of Val's treasure hunt is exciting and interesting as it has the Japanese occupation of Burma and Thailand during WWII as its historical background. The book weaves cultural traditions into the plot, such as Thai kickboxing, the songkran festival (the Thai New Year), the Buddhist religion and its statues and relics, with atmospheric descriptions of the locations.
Expect this noir novel to be tough in violence and sex, in parts. A book for those who love adventure and mystery.
Book description: Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for troubled American Val Benson – until a client with a rather unusual hobby – painting the private parts of his female liaisons – reluctantly gives up a map that leads Val on a treasure hunt for Japanese war loot hidden along the Thai-Burmese border. The Congressman’s daughter is not the only one interested in the map: yakuza, bent cops, human traffickers, rogue CIA agents and her father are hot on her trail.
So begins the dark, epic journey of a new anti-hero of Asian Noir, a protagonist both ambiguous and courageous, and utterly unreliable. Together with her best friend, the equally unreliable nightclub hostess Suki, Val travels through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese borderlands for a dramatic showdown with her pursuers. (publisher)
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Author info: Jame DiBiasio is an award-winning financial journalist and editor. He is author of the non-fiction The Story of Angkor. He lives in Hong Kong. Twitter: https://twitter.com/JameDiBiasio
Thanks to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours and the author/publisher for a review copy of the book.