Monday, May 19, 2008

Charles Benoit's "Noble Lies"

Charles Benoit is the author of Relative Danger, Out of Order, and Noble Lies, a nominee for ForeWord Magazine's Mystery of the Year award.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to Noble Lies and reported the following:
Most of Noble Lies is told in a limited third-person point of view that follows the hero, but scattered throughout the book are short chapters that let you know what’s going on from the perspective of some minor, reoccurring characters. Page 99 falls in one of those chapters.

On this page, we’re following a petty Thai thug-wannabe as he follows the book’s hero through Krabi, a coastal town in southern Thailand. On page 98, the thug was remembering the things he saw the day the tsunami hit Phuket, and at the top of page 99, he remembers how he used to be sad all the time. But he shrugs off these memories, noting that now that most everything was back to the way it was before the wave hit, “he didn’t feel as sad anymore.”

The thug does not like ferangs – foreigners – and has little good to say about people in general, so if this is the only page you read you might think the book was filled with misanthropes and complainers. But in the middle of the page, as he’s recalling how “the big American and his girlfriend” arrived in Krabi, the thug hints at something more interesting:

“Yesterday he had watched them as they climbed out of the long-tail at Chao Fa Pier, these two, Jarin’s whore Pim, an old man and a boy.”

A couple ferangs, another man’s ‘whore’ and a pair of innocents all arriving at an exotic location in a Thai-style motorboat, being watched by a man who no one seems to notice – not the plot of the book, but yeah, a good sense of what it’s about.
Watch the video trailer for Noble Lies, and learn more about the author and his work at Charles Benoit's website.

--Marshal Zeringue