Disneyland with the death penalty, somebody once called it.
That’s Singapore, a city-state, sketched for us through the eyes of Inspector Samuel Tay, suspended from duty after a self-defence shooting, with time on his hands, between much coffee and cigarette smoke. An interesting picture indeed; the writing is warm and smooth. However, the story itself, intriguing as it is, is a trifle slow and tedious.
A journalist from the Wall Street Journal hunts Tay down to beg his assistance with her investigation into the so-called suicide of a young American software engineer – computer hacker – employed by a company supposedly developing the wherewithal to control driverless cars. Since it is obviously a cover-up, Tay eventually consents to having a sceptical look into the matter, aware that his superiors would not be best pleased. In fact, they offer to reinstate him if he agrees to drop all interest in the company involved, even after a second murder that cannot be coincidental. An extremely powerful somebody is leaning heavily on his departmental bosses as well as on the faceless men of the Internal Security Department.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on 8 March 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, China. The Boeing 777-200ER was carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers of 15 nationalities. Would it be possible to hack the controls and all coms? In effect, to make it into a pilotless plane?
The plot seems to be pulled from the mysterious happenings of real life on the front page of the tabloids, but how often do these odd events actually get neatly tied up?
Seldom. Which should be an opportunity for Sam Tay to do so, but he seems to be led along further inexplicable trails by other unknown figures. When he gets into trouble, rather naively, it must be said, he is followed by an equally sinister man, known to him as John, who might or might not have something to do with the US State Department.
Except for some surely unnecessary repetition, the telling is enjoyable. Sam Tay is a great character and I would definitely like to meet him again.
Thank you, Jake Needham, for sending me this introduction to Inspector Tay. The cover is a need-to-read attention-grabber.