“A World Of Trouble” by Jake Needham: get around, true escapism style
Part of the fun of crime novels probably lies in these three words: location, location, location. Every serialized or stand-alone novel distinguishes itself by where it’s taking the reader. Jake Needham occupies a unique position because of his extensive knowledge of the middle and far east, and that makes “A World Of Trouble” a unique offer. Get ready to travel to Dubai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket for intrige and action. Obviously politics play an important role here and boy do they differ from what you would get in New York or Berlin. I’m a reader of many kinds of fiction, from J.M. Coetzee and J.G. Ballard to Lee Child and Jake Needham. I can appreciate the crime genre for what I think it is: true escapism with sometimes a little extra thrown in. Jake Needham certainly succeeds at both; I had a good old fashioned escape with Jack Shepherd (this is actually the third Shepherd novel, but the first Needham I’ve read) and I also got a nice inside look at a bit of politics in Dubai and Thailand – though I cannot really judge the accuracy. Jack Shepherd is regular guy who is no hero, and who has a hard time figuring out what the powers that be are up to. This is stuff I can relate to. Shepherd is unlike a guy like Jack Reacher who seems to know and fix everything (that’s entertaining too), he’s primarily stumbling around trying to fix messes, or worse: create them. On the other hand: he’s very good as a finance guy. He knows the tricksand he knows his way around. The dialogues are fine, they are witty. The story takes off powerfully and keeps turning and twisting till the very end. I am not for talking about the plot in a review – please read the publisher’s summary – so suffice it to say there’s some political upheaval in Thailand going on and the main protagonist gets caught in the action when an ousted Thai hot shot living in Dubai seems to be involved in some pretty dark scheming. “A World Of Trouble” is a fine crime novel and after reading it I’m in the mood for some more Jake Needham soon. See what you think.