Tag Archives: James Newman

Red Night Zone by James Newman

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A neon ballerina hits the stage in the savage world of Bangkok. She’s grinding her body on stripper poles and trying to take the right kind of men back into hotel rooms, because from the gutter, she can see her million dollar dream glinting in the tropical night sky. She seduces a man out of a briefcase he says is loaded with everything he’s worth. Later her body is found with the head cut off inside her ragged apartment. The briefcase is gone from the scene of the crime. Private investigator, Joe Dylan, is hired to retrieve the missing briefcase from Bangkok’s seedy criminal underbelly.

The city is a savage jungle of sex, black magic, and murder—the Nirvana of debauchery. The clues lead Joe Dylan into the dark and dangerous quagmire known as Demon Dreams, a shadowy S&M brothel for high profile clients with unusual needs. The madam, a gorgeous transsexual, and her brother, a mute kick-boxer who sees demons, hold a grim secret that connects a string of murdered women and the missing briefcase.

James Newman has commented, “The Red Night Zone is an acid trip, where the loose ends don’t tie up. Or if they do then not the way one expects.

Red Night Zone is a voyeuristic pulp fiction that’s always on the verge of dissolving into madness but keeps it together. Newman is a literary risk taker. He gambles hard with his storyline and subject matter like a strung out Vegas junkie betting his wedding ring and bus ticket back home. There’s a dread looming over him, but he manages to say something funny about the way people die. Newman’s style is morbidly funny with a clean prose that reminds me of Stephen King. His journalistic portrayal of Bangkok and his insider knowledge of everything weird is homage to Hunter Thompson’s gonzo journalism. Red Night Zone is the second book out of his Bangkok series. You don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this one, but they’re better together like a pair of stripper breasts.

In the 1950’s Raymond Chandler gave pulp readers Philip Marlowe. James Newman gives us a private investigator for our generation, Joe Dylan. His book is available on Amazon.

washington square ghost

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Ten Questions for five writers

James Newman

James Newman, writer of Bangkok Express

Fellow writer, James Newman is currently doing a little project in conjunction with writer and publisher, Tom Vater of Crime Wave Press. The idea is do a chain interview with five other writers working in the East. I’ve been asked to participate.

What is the title of your book?

Blubber Island.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A comedic slasher, post modern, metaphysical mind fuck.

What genre does your book fall under?

It fits into the trashy and realty bending genre of “Gutter Surrealism.” Newman has called it “Splatter Punk,” I’d go with that too.

 Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was sick of the virtually absolute grip the US Government’s propaganda has over people. That’s how the idea of “mind stealing” came to me. I wanted to write something that showed how precious our minds are because people seem so willing to surrender it. Dadaism was an anti-art, art movement that ridiculed modern art as the domesticated pet of those behind World War II. Blubber Island follows in the Dadaist spirit as an anti-literature novel.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took a little over a month. I hardly left the house during that time.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The book was written for my sister who was going through some very hard times. I wanted to tell her to never submit even under crushing oppression. My brother inspired me with his declaration, “I AM NOT A CORPORATE ROBOT!”

As for books, Stephen King’s On Writing put the fire under my ass to finally write a book. Blubber Island is my work. Since moving to Japan, I’ve been reading more Japanese writers such as Haruki Murakami, Yukio Mishima, and Banana Yoshimoto. I tired to incorporate a non-western feeling. And lastly, there is Wyoming lawyer and writer, Gerry Spence. His views on neo-slavery are profound.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

100% self published.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film The Holy Mountain. His film is nontraditional and subversive. It attacks the psyche on multiple fronts with the intention to bring about enlightenment.

John Davies’s film Hobo With a Shotgun, directed by Jason Eisener, is the ultimate underdog film. It lays on the gore with a cheesy style in a fairy tale context.

Again and again my readers have compared my book with the works of William S. Burroughs. To be honest I’ve never finished any of his books.

I tried to make Blubber Island as original as possible. If it started sounding like somebody I’ve read, I changed it.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a
movie rendition?

They’d all be “nobodies.”

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

As offensive as this book is, the primary message is spiritual salvation and a return to harmony.

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Bangkok Express is a bloody good ride

Indie pulp writer James A. Newman gives us a guided tour into the criminal underground of Bangkok, Thailand in Bangkok Express. It’s a tropical pulp fiction with an international cast of characters caught in a spider web of corruption–with coldblooded murder for cash at the center. Newman’s depiction of Bangkok makes the city come alive in all its beautiful savagery. It is a strange place that is both burning with poverty and drowning with dirty money. There’s no such thing as corruption in Bangkok. You either swim with the sharks or get eaten by piranhas. No money means no mercy. Bangkok, baby, hope you’re ready.

The book opens up with one of the most uniquely depicted murder scenes I’ve ever read. Newman portrays the act of murder in a way that I can only refer to as a work of art. It’s a style in which panic, adrenaline, fear, and confusion exist in a vacuum. From the first chapter, I knew I was hooked on this savage tale. This book is definitely a fast-paced thriller, and the only time you ever get to relax is in some sleazy sex mall with Thai ladyboys offering a cheap walk on the wild side. Or perhaps you would care for a comfy couch and a little heroine? Fear in Loathing in Bangkok, why not? This book definitely has that Hunter Thompson “gonzo” quality.

I especially enjoyed the brand of characters that were caught up in the mix. Together they formed just the right formula for everything to go to hell in a hand basket. Put a couple million British pounds up for grabs, and let the backstabbing begin. In some ways, Bangkok Express is a bit of a demented comedy. There’s some character dialogue that really captures the essence of dark humor that pulp fiction is loved for. How Newman’s characters manage a good laugh with a gun shoved in their faces is commendable. Although the plot can get a little tricky with so many players off completing their piece of the puzzle, the story stays tight and never becomes messy (that is until somebody’s brain gets a bullet massage).

I’d recommend this book to all you crime lovers out there. All the sick minds that can appreciate murder with a little bit of irony sprinkled over it and a splash of tropical paradise. The book does push the cheese factor on a few occasions, but I guess things just have their own way of unfolding in Bangkok. Newman lives in Thailand; he’s seen (and done) some stuff that we can only guess. It’s that firsthand experience that gives Bangkok Express that genuine gritty authenticity. Sniff hard enough and you can suck in the smells of diesel fumes and fresh mangos, and have the pink glare of neon lights softly stinging your eyes. According to his bio on bangkokbooks.com, he’s currently working on another book while awaiting the apocalypse. Now that’s the kind of attitude that produces books worth reading.

James A. Newman

Bangkok Express can be found at bangkokbooks.com and amazon.com. His books are available in paperback and for e-format. He has also written other pulp works Bangkok City, Lizard City, and his short story collection Thailand After Dark.

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