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  So, here I was, having just finished my first Jake NeedhamThe Ambassador’s Wife-and not quite satisfied had to go for another. Thus, The Laundry Man. Not Detective Sam Tay of Singapore this time, but “retired” international financier Jack Shepherd, now a professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He gets a call from a (supposedly) dead man to open the book, and away we go. 

Shepherd is a very different character from the socially challenged Sam Tay. He’s gregarious, athletic, has a gorgeous and talented female partner and all kinds of connections hither and yon. It’s the connections that get him in trouble. The call from the dead man concerns his role in a money laundering scheme in which he was never involved. Except he is. And there are dozens of organizations involved, ranging all the way from China to Burma to the White House.

Sorting all this out and staying alive and/or out of prison takes a whole book and a lot of trial and error and compels you, the reader, to keep soaring through the adventure till it gets sorted out. As in The Ambassador’s Wife, Needham lets you think things are clear more then once, then confounds the situation yet again, and you don’t know till nearly the end how and why what plays out plays out. Deftly done and as entertaining a thriller as you’ll find around.


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