Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Second Poison is a revenge crime novel by author Pieter Wilhelm. Tony Lynch is a former interrogator with years of experience working for the US Armed Forces. On a routine visit to his family home in Kentucky, Lynch finds out that his father has committed suicide. Upon further investigation, he uncovers that his father had been scammed out of his retirement funds by a boiler room based in Thailand. With his mind hell-bent on revenge, Tony packs his bags and travels to Bangkok. During the investigation, Tony is shocked to learn that the perpetrators have sophisticated networks with links to international criminal organizations. Now, Tony's only hope of success is to seek the help of locals and bring down the organization together. Will Tony succeed?
The Second Poison: Hate, Revenge and Redemption on the Streets of Bangkok is a crime thriller based on the premise of hate, how years of abuse can fill a man with a cold and blind hatred toward everything about the world. Pieter Wilhelm's story explores the exploitation of minors in rural Thailand and how poverty drives them into the world of prostitution, drugs, and other criminal activities. The plot moves at a fast pace, and Pieter seems well-informed on the hierarchal constructs of Thai society. He deftly conveys the impact of sex tourism on the locals. Overall, it's a solid debut novel.
Reviewed by Matt McAvoy on Goodreads.
This vivid and graphic crime thriller is perhaps in fact more an exposé of the shocking sex trade in Thailand, and other illicit activities of the Bangkok criminals; all on all, though, it seems to particularly emphasize the cultural exploitation of these desperate, destitute people by sex tourists from al over the world, and the lengths they will go to just to survive. The Second Poison is detailed and holds nothing back in its candid portrayal of child prostitutes, ladyboys and their repulsive clients’ twisted tastes, so it certainly will not be for all readers (and definitely adults only).
This book is very good, and extremely well written by an author who not only knows his subject well, but can write fiction to a tremendous quality – Wilhelm is the real deal, for sure. A current resident of Thailand, he has a good understanding of the country’s economy and the role sex tourism plays in it, while also looking to have carried out thorough research into the workings of cyber crime, crypto-currency and the scam industry. In this gripping tale, which was particularly easy to engage with, an American citizen travels to Bangkok to take a simple yet brutal revenge against the Thai businessman who ripped off his father in an online investment scam – a crime which led to the older man’s suicide. The tale reveals something of the reality of the faceless frauds which normal people of the West are drawn into every day, and that behind each anonymous scheme there actually is a face – that of your average lowlife criminal. In this story, former dark operative Tony shows us just how easy it is to get to them, in the most ruthless way.
It is a satisfying read overall, although the revenge itself, as short and sweet as it was, was probably not the real point; Wilhelm clearly has something to say about those who exploit these people and the indifference of the Thai government – his revelations about the impact of these activities on the country’s GDP are a real eye-opener. The crime thriller is really, it would appear, just a narrative vehicle for this.
This is a good book, and pretty decent fiction for grown-ups, though certainly not for the more prudish. I recommend it – particularly for those more naïve, contemplating a trip to Thailand’s red-light areas – and hope to read others by this author in the near future.