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The Khmer Kill by Barry Eisler
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The Khmer Kill (2011)

by Barry Eisler

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This is a Kindle Short Story that I downloaded through Kindle Unlimited (KU).

I remain fascinated by stories based in Cambodia. I lived there as an expat, not associated with any organization, for seven years. I supported myself by an expat favorite device, teaching English. I was contacted many times by writers who wanted to fact check some stuff about Cambodia with an expat who had local knowledge. Most of what Eisler writes about in this novel is correct.

There is sex trafficking. It is unbelievable in its scope. For most of my time in Phnom Penh, the preferred site for deviants was Kilometer 11. Chinese tourists were bussed there as part of their tour package. The one hundred dollars (per day) Dox gave Chantrea is, to say the least, excessive. There are many Cambodians working in social services trying to help women get out of prostitution by educating them so they can get skilled employment. Chantrea would have been one of them.

It is one of the cheapest places in the world as far as murder for hire, or any of the gradations of torture that can end in murder. Dox mentions that Gant acts like a rank amateur about security measures. That is correct and he wouldn’t have lasted long. When an English teacher did not show up for work, we sent a team to their last known location. During my seven years, we lost about four teachers per year from my school alone. There were several schools.

Avoiding surveillance would be almost impossible for a person that was just coming in and out of Cambodia for a few days to do a job. New people are always noticed and tracked. Foreigners cannot hide. On this point the novel is weak. The only foreigner that could “hide” would be a long-term resident expat who had built a cover. There are several of those types in Phnom Penh and a few each year either die … or escape after being informed they are on a list.

Weapons are plentiful and easy to acquire. Information in this novel on weapons is accurate. There is even a “public” range where wanna be mercs can play (for a price).

For me, living in Phnom Penh was the closest thing to living in a war zone since Vietnam. An expat resident always had to be aware of the immediate surroundings. I read this book with a great sense of nostalgia. Somewhat like Dox, I live in Indonesia (but a one hour flight time from Bali). This was a very good reading experience for me. So, I joined the Eisler newsletter and will read more of his stuff. ( )
  ajarn7086 | Nov 12, 2016 |
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Dox sat on one of the stone benches at the edge of the open-air courtyard in the center of Phnom Penh's National Museum, insects buzzing in the tropical vegetation, the December air agreeably hot.
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