A teacher fighting demons. . . Is there life after death? an American English teacher in Bangkok is intrigued by his school's Virgin Mary statues weeping tears of real blood seemingly over the abuse and trafficking of children. With diligence, perseverance and a bit of good luck, he achieves personal fame by stopping clerical pedophiles in their tracks around the world except for a couple of vicious demons he overlooked in his own school. . . A wonderful, if truly frightening, novel about heinous crimes taking place in Bangkok. James Parmelee not only knows and understands the world of being a foreigner teaching in Thailand, but also has an incredibly gifted writing style that gets you turning the pages in a hurry to see what happens next!
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Reviews of Bangkok Affections
By James Aaron Parmelee
(The following reviews of Bangkok Affections were published earlier with reference to its original title, Father, I Have Sinned)FOREWORD CLARION REVIEW
Bangkok Affections: Love, Sex, Murder and Syndicate Tyranny at Our Lady of Ubiquitous Tears
James Aaron Parmelee
Five Stars (out of Five)
Bangkok Affections is the gritty tale of an American teacher, Ignatius Fylchworthy, who lives in Thailand and defies great odds to bring down an international child trafficking ring that is being run out of the Catholic school where he teaches. Not only does Fylchworthy destroy the trafficking ring, but he attacks the practices of the Vatican believing that the insisted celibacy contributes to the incidences of child abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests. Amidst the intrigue revolving around the child trafficking, there is the strange case of the statue of Mother Mary that sheds bloody tears.
In the course of his investigation, Fylchworthy finds out that the school’s Director of Studies, Tyler Keyhorn, is missing. As Fylchworthy unearths one clue after another, he discovers that Tyler is hiding with one of his students, Bik, who has escaped from the child trafficking syndicate. Both Tyler and Bik are marked by high level officials to be shot on sight so neither of them can publicly identify the pedophiles and help dismantle the syndicate. Fylchworthy, together with the assistance of ex-cop Bill Yolkaby, whose brother happens to be a key player in the syndicate, set about to gather information that will implicate all the major players and save the children who are lined up to be the next “recruits.”
Bangkok Affections effectively shows the contrasting aspects of Thailand, from the “delightful environment,” to the “raucous bars,” and “world’s most gorgeous, smiling and willing women.” Parmelee skillfully presents cultural aspects of Thailand, such as the relationship between Thai people and foreigners and especially the interaction of Thai women, both with men and one another. Probably the most disturbing descriptions center around Thailand’s poverty, and its most vulnerable citizens who are misused by foreigners and the very people in power to protect them.
The mystery surrounding the Madonna’s bloody tears adds to the intrigue and lends a sense of mysticism, malevolence and foreboding to an already suspenseful story.
Parmelee’s writing is crisp, evocative, and fast paced. The plot and compelling conclusion successfully achieve Parmelee’s primary goal for the book; namely, to draw attention to pedophiles and the children they abuse. A fascinating, sometimes uplifting, sometimes harrowing read, Bangkok Affections is thoroughly thought provoking.
THE U.S. REVIEW OF BOOKS
Set in Bangkok, this novel/thriller centers on a ring of crooked educators, priests and other citizens involved in an international child trafficking ring. Its author, Parmelee, is the director of an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) school in Thailand. Our Lady of Ubiquitous Tears is a Catholic boarding school in Bangkok where our narrator, Ig Fylchworthy, teaches. On site are statues of the Virgin Mary that occasionally spout what looks like blood, as they do during the investigation...
What is quite fascinating are the landscape and cultural background of the book. The descriptions of Thai architecture, customs and habitats are alluring. For example, Fylchworthy, a divorced American who moved to Thailand where he learned to be an English teacher, says, "Come here once, and you are lost. That is, Thailand absorbs you. It benefits from who you are, and you benefit from who you become..."
The mystery wends itself through murders, hospitalizations and incriminations as Catholics, Interpol and the non-religious work together. The battle ends up at the Vatican. Life after death is contemplated. This book would doubtless most appeal to those who have spent time in Thailand or wish to do so. Of course, it is