Danish journalist writes thriller novel about Thailand’s dark side

Autor Jesper Handberg Nielsen, who has lived in Bangkok for a number of years, makes his debut with a thriller novel from the Asian metropolis. Photo: Ib Halling

Thailand is known to most as “the land of smiles”, but beneath the surface exists a divided society that not many people think about. 

The Danish author and trained journalist Jesper Handberg Nielsen who has lived in Bangkok for a number of years says, “Thailand is a society with huge differences in status and income and that creates tensions. Since the 70s, the tensions have occasionally led to bloody clashes between protesters and security forces in the streets of Bangkok”.

The Danish debut novel ‘Bangkok is burning’ (from Danish ‘Bangkok Brænder’) is inspired by the deep conflict that has characterized and plagued the Thai nation for many decades. The idea came from incidents in 2010 where armed clashes and a military operation led to more than 90 deaths in the center of Bangkok and this acts as the backstory in Jesper Handberg Nielsens thriller novel.

Jesper Handberg Nielsen explains that his novel is not a history book nor an indictment. It is a fictional tale that sends you on a journey to a different Thailand than the one you find on Patong Beach. His hope is that the story makes Danish readers curious about what is happening, even right now, in the real Thailand.

In the story we follow Jack Wongsavul, who is hired as a security consultant for Thailand’s Minister of Transport just as a decomposed body appears on the same building site. Jack is given the task of investigating the case in secret and together with the minister’s daughter, he must try to find out the truth about the death before the police and the press. Violent clashes between protesters and the military in the streets of Bangkok makes it difficult to clear up, and Jack has to fight both an unknown enemy from the past and old ghosts from his Danish origins.

Jesper Handberg Nielsen thriller novel ‘Bangkok Brænder’ will be published in Danish on 21 December by the Danish publishing company Byens Forlag.

Source: Sjaellandske Nyheder

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