Review: If only one word could be used to describe Noble Lies by Charles Benoit, it might be "unpredictable". And for a mystery thriller, that's a very good word indeed.
For former Marine Mark Rohr, working in a bar in Phuket City, Thailand, the job he's hired to do seems simple enough: find Shawn, the brother of an American woman Robin, presumed dead after the tsunami but identified on a recent photograph. But the missing person investigation turns complicated very quickly. They locate Pim who claims to be married to Shawn, but who works for Jarin, a local crime lord who doesn't take kindly to anyone interferring in his affairs. She volunteers to take Mark and Robin to Shawn, but only if they take along her grandfather and young nephew. As their journey continues from Thailand to Malaysia, they discover that though Shawn may be alive and well, he might not want to be found.
"Noble lies" are those told by people who don't know the answer to a question but, in order to save face, give any answer to prevent being perceived as ignorant. Since it isn't clear at any time if anyone is telling the truth in this story, the unpredictability of the plot is one of the great assets of Noble Lies. Benoit provides many detailed descriptions of the region, most of which aren't likely appear on the government tourist brochures for the country, but they add a sense of danger and excitement. When Mark and Robin meet up with modern-day international pirates, which could have been rather ridiculous in any other context, it's just another unexpected, unanticipated, yet thoroughly entertaining bump in the road on their journey to discover the truth about Shawn.
Though there is an occasional chapter from a another character's point of view that tends to unnecessarily muddle the story somewhat, for the most part, Noble Lies is a thrilling adventure worth experiencing.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Noble Lies for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Noble Lies: Phuket City, Thailand, Malaysia
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Noble Lies by Charles Benoit
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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