A Good Death

The author is a journalist who has traveled throughout Southeast Asia for more than 20 years. He has used his experiences to good effect in this debut novel, which combines an exotic murder mystery, a compelling love story and a Heart of Darkness-like journey into the jungles of Laos. At its center is Sebastian Damon, a private investigator hired by a Boston insurance company to find out the truth about the death in a Bangkok flop house of an up-and-coming Southeast Asian refugee who recently purchased a half-million-dollar life-insurance policy. Is it a scam, or is she really dead? The chase leads Damon through the seamy streets of Bangkok, a world Cox knows well and describes vividly, and then into the jungle along the Laos-Vietnam border to find the xenophobic, violent tribe from which the woman came. Like all great mystery tales, this novel is about much more than solving a crime: It’s about stepping into a dangerous unknown from which one might not emerge alive.