Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for beautiful and troubled American Val Benson – until a client with a rather unusual hobby – painting the private parts of his female liaisons – reluctantly gives up a map to a stash of Japanese war loot and tempts his favourite girl into a dangerous treasure hunt.
The Congressman’s daughter is not the only one interested in the map: yakuza, bent cops, human traffickers, rogue CIA agents and her father are hot on her trail, snapping at her high heels.
So begins the dark, epic journey of a new anti-hero of Asian Noir, a protagonist both ambiguous and courageous, and utterly unreliable. From comfort women and tomb-raiding in Japanese-occupied Burma to the murderous echoes of the Vietnam War, long forgotten crimes come roaring back to life, as Val leaves a trail of destruction and chaos in her wake.
Together with her best friend, the equally unreliable nightclub hostess Suki, Val travels through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese borderlands for a dramatic showdown with her pursuers. Finding the treasure before everyone else does is her only hope for survival, and perhaps redemption.
Praise for Gaijin Cowgirl:
“Val Benson – a rich kid with a few family secrets in her locker winds up in a Japanese hostess bar before entangling herself in a treasure hunt for lost gold in the Thai / Burmese jungle. Along for the ride are Suki (great name) her Japanese hostess friend, Muddy (again great name choice) a gritty Australian treasure hunter, and Simon- a sarf Londan kick boxer.
Reminiscent of Karin Slaughter’s Tokyo the beginning opens with Val arriving in Tokyo, finding her feet in a hostess bar, and meeting an old flame who happens to be a lawyer working on busting former Japanese war criminals. One of whom is also Val’s number one customer, painter of female genitals, and holder of a lost treasure map. Val goes to the client’s home, takes the treasure map along with a bag of cash, battles C.I.A agents, watches the old war criminal nearly die, and escapes with her life, the cash, and the map. Her diplomat father gets her out of the country to Hong Kong where she meets up with Muddy and then onto Bangkok where the search for treasure starts proper.
Gaijin Cowgirl is a high-octane chase thriller; the action level only drops when the author fills us in with historical details – all of which are probably not a hundred percent essential to the plot – interesting nonetheless. The cast is wide and colorful and the backdrop always illuminating. This is a fine first novel by author Jame DiBiasio who moved to Hong Kong from New York in 1997. DiBiasio has researched and structured his novel well, tension rises and lowers, the plot is strong and well resolved. Val finds out something about herself, her family and her place in the world during this adventure. And that, my fellow readers, is what writing character adventure fiction is all about.”-J. Newman, Amazon.com Reviewer
About Jame DiBiasio:
Jame DiBiasio is an award-winning financial journalist and editor. He is author of the non-fiction The Story of Angkor (published by Silkworm Books in 2013) and blogs at http://asiahacks.com. He lives in Hong Kong.
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