Sting Factor (kink):
The biggest problem with Bangkok Noir is that it tries too hard. Characters come across as inorganic, the setting is ripped from the
nearest Thailand tourism guide, and the plot is typical murder mystery. Where it deviates from the tried-and-true method of storytelling in a noir style is that the voice changes from one character to another and back. The idea has promise but doesn’t show
total development throughout the book. In contrast to the stories that come out of Thailand of child prostitutes and the ilk, the notion of a BDSM bar being “underground and taboo” smacks of inauthenticity. The author would have been better off being more genuine about the nature of the bars/clubs/houses instead of trying to enhance their noir grit by making them an “affront to the common morality.” Now, this isn’t to say that there couldn’t be a crackdown on these dens of sin if a rash of murders took place, but the way it is presented is that they operate on a precarious ledge that could be toppled into the realm of lawlessness at any moment.
BDSM plays a central role to the story being told, but it doesn’t have to. Since the author has decided that working in BDSM would be an outlaw profession, it needs more explanation. Lofty terms such as “natural dominance/submission” are bandied about in a further attempt to romanticize the acts within. However, the scenes themselves are fairly well written and descriptive, fully designed to titillate and keep the reader intrigued. These lovely scenes are draped across a delicate skeleton of setting, creating a disconnect between the intrigue and the erotica.
Reviewed by Lacie