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Vampire Of Siam

Live dangerously. Make friends with a Vampire.

Martin Larue, wealthy beyond measure, is a wandering expat, who has made Bangkok his sometime home. His days are spent dabbling in cinema journalism and enjoying the finer things in life. But he is jaded and bored and his editor at the Bangkok Times thinks he needs some excitement. He sends him out with the police to dig amongst the dirt beneath Bangkok's façade. His guide is the enigmatic Lt.-Colonel Boonsong. The world-weary Martin finds his senses jolted when he unwittingly accompanies police to a murder scene at the centuries-old Hernando Cemetery. Before he is led away he glimpses the body of a girl with dyed-hair sprawled naked across the cold stone bier in the center of the tomb.

Reluctantly Martin uncovers a serial killer in the City of Angeles. His article is front-page news and leads to a visit from the murderer himself - a 175-year-old French vampire. Ramonne Delacroix is sophisticated, worldly, charming and dangerous. At first determined to kill him, Ramonne finds in Martin a kindred spirit. An unlikely bond is formed as Martin becomes intoxicated by the vampire's power to reveal the past glories of Siam and Angkor Wat that he has witnessed (Ramonne was originally a French explorer before being attacked by a Chinese Vampire in 1860.) He divulges to Martin that he has been paying off Boonsong to carry on his bloodsucking activities without interruption. Martin agrees to transfer his wealth to the vampire for the privilege of following him on his sex and death binges in Bangkok.

On the verge of crossing to the dark side himself, Martin is betrayed and plunged into a mortal hell. Waking in Boonsong's jail, he finally sees things clearly and joins forces with Jonathan Peyton, self-styled vampire-hunter who has been tracking Ramonne since he killed his beautiful wife Jennifer in Pattaya on their honeymoon. He has been preparing for his encounter and is outfitted with tranquilizer darts and riot guns to take down his prey and drag him to hallowed ground. In a botched attempt by he & Martin to capture Ramonne in a seedy bordello, Jonathan is bitten. Unfortunately, he suffered a bite from the vampire before and is now turning into a vampire himself.

With time running out for Jonathan, he and Martin track the vampire to the opening of a huge nightclub. Ramonne has been stalking the owner's girlfriend - the sexy young socialite Areeyah "Ya Ya" Boonsong, the Colonel's daughter. In a fiery shoot-out the vampire hunters lose their prey and Ramonne kidnaps the girl, Yaya.

Martin & Jonathan are brought to Boonsong who reveals a ransom note from Ramonne demanding a meeting - alone - at the fabled Temple Of Dawn. Here the police Colonel must exchange his life for his daughter's. The vampire hunters hatch a plan to bring Ramonne down. In a spectacular endgame Jonathan - now a fully-formed Vampire - battles Ramonne in an aerial duel up on the 200 foot temple tower on the banks of the Chao Phyra river. Ultimately Jonathan suffers defeat and Ramonne encounters Martin & Boonsong. Ramonne dispatches Boonsong to hell with great pleasure. He then turns to Martin. Martin wields a shotgun, potentially an instrument of destruction for the vampire, for if he is decapitated on hallowed ground – his body will incinerate with the rise of the sun. Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn is indeed hallowed ground.

An exotic tale of lust, greed and the supernatural, "The Vampire Of Siam" follows the strange path that a powerful friendship takes as it unravels, and Martin Larue learns a lesson in the preciousness of life's every moment - from a vampire.


 

All books are available at all Asia Books & Bookazine stores. Signed copies of all books and CDs are available from the author. For more information please click here.




 
Press
 

Phuket Gazette
Ultimate horror: Farang Bloodsucker in Bangkok
Jim Eckhart


Jim Newport's The Vampire of Siam (Asia Books, Bangkok, 2003, 184pp) is Grand Guignol entertainment about a modern-day vampire amok on the streets of the City of Angels. There only question to ask: "Does it entertain?" It does.

Martin Larue lives lavishly in Bangkok with his girlfriend Daeng on a very well-endowed trust fund:

"It seemed that his only real problem was answering the question: 'What do you do?' Travel for travel's sake wasn't a satisfactory answer to most who asked. So he had taken his fondness for cinema and his connections at the Bangkok Times to their logical conclusion. He was a 'film critic' for the paper's weekend supplement. This gave him easy access to cushy press passes at obscure film festivals in mountain resorts around the globe. . . That was the plan, and Lord it was working beautifully."

Until, that is, his editor orders him to accompany Pol Lt Col Boonsong on his nightly rounds for a human interest story. "I have no interest, human or otherwise, in delving into the muck and mire of Bangkok in the back of a police car," Larue replies haughtily. But then he reconsiders: "After all, his existence had become jaded, and he was in the mood for a new kick."

Late on his rounds with Col Boonsong, they happen upon the naked corpse of a young Patpong bargirl spread-eagled on a tomb in a Silom cemetery, her face wreathed in ecstasy. A little research in the archives reveals her to be the fourth victim found splayed on that same tomb over a period of 10 years. Larue finds himself on the track of a serial killer.

Having written a 2,000- word expose about the killer and suspected police corruption, Larue hires a German bodyguard named Hans for protection. Then, one night outside his apartment building: ". . . he heard a very strange gurgling sound from Hans. When he turned, he found that Hans was minus his most distinguishing feature – his large German head."

And there, standing with a serrated knife and Hans' severed head in his hand is the yellow-eyed Ramonne.

Ramonne Delacroix, born in 1825, was bitten by a vampire in Angkor Wat on Henri Mouhot's 1860 voyage up the Mekong. He now lives in a crypt under Lumpini Boxing Stadium, venturing forth at night to feed on his victims with impunity as he pays protection money to none other than Col Boonsong.

Larue is quickly under Ramonne's physical and mental spell. Ramonne whisks him to the Brown Sugar jazz club on Soi Sarasin where, in the company of the vampire, everything is mysteriously transformed: "The music drifted up to the second floor and intoxicated Martin.

The café, which he had frequented on numerous occasions, seemed fresh and new and wonderful. The faux Tiffany lights cast a warm glow, the soft hues of the fabrics adorning the tables blending with the collage of posters on the walls. The food aromas mingled with the perfumes and colognes … totally and utterly intoxicating. It was a sensuous den of earthly delights and Martin reveled in it."

Ramonne's original intention was to drown Larue in Raja Lake, but he relents when his victim reveals that he has a trust fund of 20 million dollars. "Twenty million US?" asks the vampire.

They continue their strange crypto-friendship and Larue hands over chunks of his fortune to Ramonne. Ramonne in turn transports Larue mentally to heights of sensual pleasure. The badinage between them is often entertaining despite the vampire's mounting atrocities.

That's as much as I'm going to reveal of the plot. The story is told cleverly enough.

Good for nibbling on the beach...


 

The Nomad Lawyer
By Paul Karl Lukacs
Saturday, September 9th, 2006


The Vampire of Siam by Jim Newport (Asia Books 2003).

Jim Newport spends part of the year in Los Angeles working as a production designer and the rest of the year in Thailand writing novels. Nothing wrong with that.

Newport's 30 years in Hollywood are evident from the slickness of his first published novel, The Vampire of Siam. The book is a well-packaged product designed to shift units and make money. Nothing wrong with that, either.

You can almost hear the checklist. Subject with proven popularity? "Vampires." Exotic setting? "Thailand." Action at famous locations? "Major sites in Bangkok and Pattaya." Sex and violence? "It's there." Short? "182 pages." Price point? "Just under ten dollars." Could we sell this to tourists by the box-load? "I certainly hope so."

Martin Larue is a 35-year-old trustafarian, living off his family's Microsoft royalties and sharing his swank Bangkok pad with his beautiful young Thai girlfriend. In order to have something to do, he writes film reviews for a local newspaper but is asked by the editor to spread his wings and write up a "ride along" with the local police.

That night, Martin travels with Bangkok's finest as the police ignore a drunken politician who kills a motorcyclist and later shake down a Westerner arguing with a tailor. A typical night in Bangkok, until the police are forced to respond to a call about a dead body dumped at the Hernando Cemetery (based on Xavier Cemetery, a decaying Roman Catholic burial ground in the center of the city).

Martin and the police find the crumpled, nude body of a young Thai woman spread-eagled on the bier of the largest mausoleum. Strange, the police want Martin out of there now. Stranger, the police are not saving any forensic evidence. Strangest, the police announce three days later that a woman who fits the description of the victim died that night . . . by accidental drowning in the Chao Phraya River.

Martin investigates and uncovers similar murders, young women killed at night with their bodies dumped in the cemetery, missing most of their blood. Martin begins to hunt for what he initially thinks is a serial killer preying on Bangkok's bar girls but learns he's on the trail of something far more bloodthirsty.

A competent set-up, competently executed and followed through. Newport's prose is spare, without the over-done descriptions that often belabor stories with foreign settings. The novel is obviously written with an eye toward the screenplay, which isn't a bad thing, since the discipline of writing a linear through-line keeps the story focused on action and relevant dialogue.

You can buy The Vampire of Siam at almost every airport and major railroad station in Thailand and finish the book before you reach your destination. That's what it's designed for.


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