This week’s free ebook giveaway is Randall Peffer’s first Cape Islands Mystery, Provincetown Follies, Bangkok Blues. The book is available in the Kindle, NOOK, Sony, Apple, and Kobo ebook stores. You have until October 23 to grab it.
And you should grab it. Not just because it’s free. But because it’s one of the best crime novels I’ve ever read. It’s haunting and atmospheric. It’s thought provoking. It also stars one of the more intriguing characters I’ve ever read, la.
If I was inclined to steal the description of Provincetown Follies, Bangkok Blues from our website, this is what it would tell you.
A mysterious fire sweeps through the commercial district of Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the police hypothesize that the blaze was set to cover up the murder of Big Al Costelano, a notorious P-town playboy, real estate tycoon, and mobster. The prime suspect is the victim’s estranged half-Vietnamese, half-African American, drag queen lover, Tuki Aparecio.
Michael DeCastro, a Portuguese American, former fifth-generation commercial fisherman, is Tuki’s court-appointed attorney. Up until now, DeCastro has thrived on doing good deeds like tenant-landlord arbitration or representing the underprivileged in divorce and custody battles. He is thoroughly unprepared for the likes of Tuki and the whole pack of nasty little secrets trailing behind her from Bangkok’s notorious tenderloin zone, the Patpong.
Knowing he should remove himself from the case, DeCastro finds himself both frustrated and intrigued by this dragon lady of 10,000 mysteries. And even though the evidence suggests otherwise, he believes Tuki is innocent. Unless DeCastro finds the creeps who framed her for the fire and murder, Tuki will die in prison, and he just can’t let that happen.
Notable book reviewer Sarah Weinman had this to say about the book—
“There’s been a healthy amount of buzz about Peffer’s newest tale and it’s easy to see why: the narrative has a furious drive, there’s a grand sense of weirdness to the point of hallucination, and the net effect is that it’s damn good — except for poor Michael, the lawyer sucked into a not-so-ordinary murder case that totally messes with his head, his life and possibly his existence.”
If this was just a business—a pushing of commodities from producer to consumer, I’d be inclined to stop there. I gave you a product description and a third party validation. It’s up to you, whether or not you want to spend the time downloading and reading the book.
But publishing has never been just a business to me.
I believe in connecting storytellers to audiences, books being one of the greatest tools we have for understanding what it means to be human and alive. What else can make people who would never otherwise interact understand each other, bridging whatever divides come from geography, class, race, and sexuality? I think it is essential that we celebrate those writers who are brave enough to log the miles, who dig themselves into uncomfortable situations in pursuit of the truth.
That’s where Peff comes in.
The guy has traveled a lot of the globe, picking up captivating stories of far off cultures and people with a reporter’s ear and a poet’s gift for putting you there, in the moment, not in a sterile tourist experience, but in the real and rawness of life as it happens.
That’s what makes Provincetown Follies, Bankok Blues so good. The fascinating details that don’t scream for attention, but get it just the same. The flawed, but beautiful characters. The struggle that comes with rethinking everything we think we know. The reinforcement that love happens in unexpected ways at unexpected times with unexpected people.
I’ve learned a lot about the world from Peff. Not just in his books, but in our conversations of things like the Portuguese saudade, the haunted island of Ballalae and the old naval base at Ondonga in the South Pacific, or what it’s like to ride a freight train across Vietnam with no real plan. Those stories have pushed me out onto the road, have pushed me to explore the nooks and crannies that aren’t really covered in the atlas, hoping to find compelling people and places.
A few years ago I started carrying my video camera with me when I hung out with Peff so that I could document some of the stories. One of my favorites—Peff’s search for Steam Train Maury Graham, the King of the Hobos—was originally the subject of a piece he wrote for National Geographic. Here’s Peff telling the story.