Finished Tu 3/29/16 This was one of my books and I first competed it Sa 1/5/02. At the time I wrote in the flyleaf that it would make a fine film. I still agree.
A nice slice of Noir.
Set in Phnom Penh, Cambodia during the early 1990's.
Asher had worked at UNESCO (managing the removal of bat shit from The National Museum) and wants to leave Asia, but he wants to leave rich. He buys a large quantity of heroin with his ex girlfriend, Julie. She's a bartender at a strip club in Manhattan. She has her boss (who she hates) finance the deal, and then she stiffs him.
Reese is a journalist and and a tennis partner of Asher in Cambodia. He has him take the heroin back to the states as part of Reese's mail drop. He tells Reese that the package is a screen play that he is writing.
When the heroin arrives in New York, Glen's gang tries to steal back the money that Julie has made on the sale of the heroin. Julie, Reese, and Weatherly, a friend of Reese, are attacked by hoods of Glen at Weatherly's Manhattan apartment. They kill one of the hoods, but they are able to claim that they were random victims of robbery and they were only acting in self defense. The police believe them.
Asher had to borrow money from his Cambodian landlord, Hawk and he wires Julie that he really needs money. She decides to come to his rescue. She delivers the money and Asher pays Hawk, but Hawk didn't think he would pay and the main crook, Hang Boonma. This man was on the plane with Julie and he and her struck up an acquaintance. She thought he was a pig of a man.
Although Asher paid his debt, Boonma and Hawk want to send a message to the people who don't pay, and decide to have Asher kidnapped. As Julie and Asher take the train to the Cambodian seaside the train is attacked and they are kidnapped with a Danish missionary.
Reese comes back after his adventures with Julie and the wedding of his sister in Maine and convinces the bank to withdraw Asher's money so that the ransom can be paid.
There is only enough money for one of them. Julie is released, and Asher and the missionary are killed.
"Sorry, I'd prefer to stand" are Archer's last words just before he is fatally hit on the back of the head with the hoe that he has just used to dig his own grave.
Page at wikipedia-
The author's page at wikipedia-