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The Monsoon Ghost Image by Tom Vater - Book Tour

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The Monsoon Ghost Image
Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.
When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph.
As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.
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Excerpt from The Monsoon Ghost Image
Maier and his sidekick Mikhail confront two American secret service guys who have come to intimidate them at their detective agency’s office in Hamburg.
The Family
It snowed lightly as Maier stepped out of the building. Mikhail stood a few meters to the right, his arms raised. His plastic shoes were filling with snow.
The black Audi had a long steel pole stuck through its windscreen.
Two men, one with blood on his face, stood behind the open doors of the car, guns pointing at the Russian. Identical small and deadly Glock 19s, typical equipment for American government agents. The men who’d gate-crashed Ritter’s funeral.
Maier moved forward. The guns followed him.
“Do we kill them?” the bleeding man asked.
The question was casual and remote, made even more so by the snowflakes that swirled around the four men. This was Germany in 2002, not the OK Corral. A few pedestrians rushed past, shocked at what they saw. Someone would call the police. Germans always called the cops.
Maier stepped forward calmly, but he could hear his heart beating like the wings of a stressed starling.
“Hands up, Detective Maier.”
One of the men moved away from the car towards Mikhail. Maier pulled himself together, half-hoping the man was stupid enough to get close to his colleague.
“Guys, stop harassing my client or we will call the police.”
The closer man, ginger buzz cut, big chin, good East Coast school accent, cold and clever eyes, laughed gently.
“We’re the police, Maier. Call whoever you want if you get the chance.”
Ginger held the 9mm steadily on Mikhail. His companion, a larger and darker specimen with shorter black hair gelled to his broad semi-handsome head, stood bleeding, exhaling clouds of pain-filled breath. He looked like movie tough guy Charles Bronson, like a man who’d been left out in the sun too long. The blood threatened to blind him, but he was calm. Fake Bronson stepped from behind the car door, and pulled the steel pole out of the Audi’s windshield. He looked a little less in the mood for diplomacy than his ginger haired colleague.
“I should put this down your throat, you fucking Ivan. You’re as good as dead.”
The loud clank of the pole hitting the tarmac was enough distraction for the Russian to make his move. Mikhail stepped forward in a way that seemed entirely impossible given his bulk, kicked the Glock out of Ginger’s hand, plastic shoe cutting through the cold air fast enough to make the snow in its path melt. A split second later he’d closed in. Headbutt. Nose broken. Blood bubbling. Ginger was about to go down, but Mikhail caught him as the second American opened fire. Maier dived to the hard ground.
Fake Bronson had shot Ginger.
“Drop the gun or I break your friend’s neck and use him to make an even bigger hole in your fucking car window, darling.”
Maier could hear the glee in his partner’s voice. Don’t fuck with the Russian bear. Mad.
The gun in the hands of the injured American who’d just shot his colleague never wavered. These guys were on course.
“Ok. Let him go,” Fake Bronson said as if ordering a cup of tea.
Mikhail’s answer was equally calm and measured.
“Drop the gun on the ground. No guns. I will snap his head off now. I will make you eat it.”
Fake Bronson dropped the gun. Maier got up, sidled past his friend and retrieved the weapon. The bleeder smelt of studied anger.
“Get back in the car. Put your fingers on the steering wheel. If you move, he’s gone.”
Mikhail slowly moved around the car and lifted the unconscious Ginger into the Audi’s passenger seat, gave him a gentle pat on the head and shut the door. He kept the American’s gun.
“I see you again, the Ivan in me will devour you guys. Ass first.”
He stepped away from the car and pulled the magazine from the gun, nodding to Maier to do the same. The Audi moved past them at a snail’s pace, the blazing eyes of the bleeder, Fake Bronson, at the wheel, burning through the two detectives. As the car pulled away, Mikhail threw both guns, one after another, through the back window. He threw hard and he had good aim. Perhaps he’d been a gun thrower in a past life. As the window exploded, the Audi rolled on, unhurried, in a world of its own.
“You sure you want to be a detective?”
Mikhail laughed at Maier’s lame joke.
“You really want to go up against men like that without having a guy like me around?”

Author Bio –
Tom Vater has published four crime novels and is the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint. He writes for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, CNN and The Nikkei Asian Review. He is a best-selling non-fiction writer and co-author of the highly acclaimed Sacred Skin (

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