The first body is in Singapore, on a bed in an empty suite in the Marriott Hotel. The second in Bangkok, in a seedy apartment close to the American embassy. Both women. Both Americans. Both beaten viciously and shot in the head. Both stripped naked and lewdly displayed. The FBI says it's terrorism, but the whispers on the street are that a serial killer is stalking American women across Asia.
Inspector Samuel Tay of Singapore CID is something of a reluctant policeman. He's a little overweight, a little lonely, a little cranky, and he smokes way too much. Thinking back, he can't even remember why he became a police detective in the first place. He talks about quitting all the time, but he hasn't. Because the thing is, he's very, very good at what he does.
When bodies of American women start turning up, Singapore CID calls in Inspector Tay. It's a high profile case, and he's the best they have. Then why is it, Tay soon begins to wonder, that nobody seems to want him to find the women's killer? Not the FBI, not the American ambassador, not even his bosses at CID. When international politics takes over a murder case, the truth is the next victim.
©2006, 2011 Jake Raymond Needham (P)2014 Jake Raymond Needham
Senior who loves a complicated book, weekly excursions to Disney and Universal to ride the roller coasters and a good margarita.
I have sent several emails to friends and family about all of Jake Needham's work. I tell them to read the books and listen at the same time.
I prefer to let a book stand on it's own merit. If it is too much like other books, then what's the point? I love original work and thought processes. Jake gives us an exotic location, with all its warts, and not only do we learn something, we get entertained as well.
Inspector Samuel Tay seems a timid man, who smokes like a chimney, eats too much and can be very cantankerous but he goes through the facts of the case in a unique way. I adore this character as he cares about discovering every aspect of the crime committed. I want more Tay.
Don't be afraid to buy this book. I have read twice and also bought this audio. Enjoy the story. You can visualize the location, feel the heat and walk in Inspector Tay's shoes as he solves the case. BUY all his books and audios, you will not be sorry, THIS IS A CHARACTER WHO IS REAL, a police procedural, and what steps must be taken to actually solve a crime.
I've been to Singapore so the location originally drew me to the book. This is a complex thriller that dips into ethics and moral issues from the first chapter. Made it much more interesting than some run of the mill mystery, and kept me off center considering the underlying social, political, international intelligence issues as much as the plot. Loved the lead character Inspector Tay, subtle, refreshingly humane and moral. The story took a bit to wind up but the background means something so don't doze. I thought this book was outstanding. Loved the narrator. He helped me picture the international nature and cultural mix of characters. Definitely left me wanting to read/hear the next book in the series.
Among the audio books I have listened to ( I am 59 years old don't ask me to count)none have charmed me as much as The Ambassadors Wife, perhaps excepting "The Umbrella Man" by the same author. I was a little apprehensive about the narration, given as we are to hear our favourite characters in the voices we ourselves conduct in our heads.I am flabbergasted now but admit that Mr Marvel's rendition of the Inspector is now absolutely written into my consciousness. I can't imagine anyone else replacing him.It was an absolute delight to rediscover the novel through a listening experience .Great God I didn't even have to turn a page - mmm tap the screen.
"The Umbrella Man" by Jake Needham, also read by Steve Marvel is my favourite
Fabulous. Cannot imagine anyone else. For me Steve Marvels voice and that of Inspector Tay will forever be ONE.
It made me laugh and it then it made me laugh again and I also felt a great empathy with the character, which should be odd as I am not from Singapore, have never lived there, am not an Inspector or otherwise associated with a police force. I am from Scotland, but I do smoke.
The change of voice from the one I'd grown accustomed to in my head reading Jake's other novels. I'm a fast reader and and Jake's pacing is masterful. But the audio version forced me to slow down, but in doing so tempered my impatience and helped me see Jake's writing in a different way. I'm looking forward to reading the next one.
I changed the listening speed to 1.5 and it was just prefect.
I loved it when the OC says he's counting on Tang to solve a gruesome murder. Tang promises he'll do his best. "Do better than that. Just f&*%ing fix it."
Sorry your best isn't good enough Tang, deal with it.
Clarity. He seems to enjoy language, a taste he shares with Jake. He has a way of changing his voice just enough to create distinctions in characters and accents without sounding like he's trying to be Frank Gorshin (I'm dating myself).
Jake's books don't 'move you' in a sentimental way. They move you to explore and take action, to see, as Joan Didion wrote, "the tidal bore on the Amazon." I want to pack up an Olivetti typewriter and head off to parts unknown and return with a novel, a broken heart and a bad liver.
Jake Needham is a raconteur of royal order. His sense of humor is understated but evident. His ability to take the you back to the scene, the locals, the old buildings, the way things used to or ought to be, is truthful, almost melancholy, always genuine. It's not like listening to someone pine for better days that probably weren't better; what Jake does is make you wish you could have been a part of it and you are envious of his experience.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
This is (I think the first book) in a series I have not read before. I don't know--others might like it much better than I do. Reading the blurb about it--I was sure it was going to be really exciting. It has all the ingredients--intrigue, murder, exotic orient setting, Inspector Tay--who (as he is described and as he behaves in the book) is the best part of the book.
Yet, I'm about 4 hours into the book, and have felt nothing but boredom. Not sure how that is--can't fault the narration, but even with all the pieces that should be making this a truly fascinating story, I'm not fascinated--I'm having trouble even keeping my attention on the book. I think the story is just so stretched out, that I keep waiting for something new and interesting to occur, but there is just so much filler that it's a long wait.
Guess I'm going to just cut my losses on this one. I think it's kind of cheating to write a review without finishing a whole book. I understand that some books take this long to get set up. But this has not seemed like the establishment of the basics--it just drags. I'm sorry. Bought it during this great sale going on, and now I pretty much wish I hadn't. HOPEFULLY other people will love this book. But I don't.
I'd say this is one of the best audio books I've ever listened to. Not only is Jake Needham's storytelling, fascinating, but Steve Martel does an amazing job of voicing the characters.
I've attended a crime scene or two in my time, and the narrative of the scene in the beginning of Ambassadors Wife transported me into this one. It's almost like Mr. Needham has been in one or two himself. Very well done.
I've really enjoyed The Ambassadors Wife and The Umbrella Man by Jake Needham. His descriptions of the locations are so detailed and colourful, you really can feel yourself there, with all of the sights and sounds and dark undercurrent. Just the right amount of humour and drama in these stories to make for great listening (and reading). Looking forward to attending more crime scenes with Inspector Samuel Tay.
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