Posted: April 2, 2012 in China, review

Thanks to publishers Sort Of Books I have just finished an ARC of Border Run by Simon Lewis, whose Bad Traffic was so well received by critics. This involved me in making  a metaphorical long  journey from Scandinavia [after reading three Nordic books] to the border area between China and Burma. 

Will, a keen photographer, and his friend Jake are on a gap year jaunt to South East Asia, when they are offered a one day trip to see a secret waterfall near the border with Burma. 

Howard the man making the offer has a jeep, and is only slightly weird but….

He told me about this amazingly beautiful spot that only the tribals know about, it isn’t in any guidebooks or anything. It’s so lovely…..

What sold the trip to Jake was a chance to meet up with Wa girls. “Tribal girls, the one’s deep in the forest, they haven’t got hang-ups like the brittle city bitches you always meet.” 

We expect things are going to go wrong and they do, and Will begins to wish he had gone to see the tea factory and taken the next bus to Laos.

Simon Lewis is a very talented writer because his vivid descriptions of the forest and the antics of three main characters make you feel you are right there with them on the borderland. The fast moving action is a blur of pangolins, penknives, drugs, forest, Jeeps, China, tribal peoples, smugglers, waterfalls and struggling with crossbows. Perhaps there is a little too much discussion of their situation by Will, Howard and Jake, but this is because you want the action to continue and find out what happens next. At just over 200 pages this book seems almost like an extended short story or novella, but the ending interestingly leaves you wanting more.  

  1. Norman – Oh, this sounds interesting! Normally I wouldn’t head to an action-packed story first. But I’m intrigued by the setting, about which I do not know enough, and the story sounds interesting. Thanks for the fine review.

  2. Maxine says:

    Have just skimmed your review, Norman, as this one is on my shelf waiting to read. I enjoyed his debut novel, Bad Traffic, very much (clever – written by an English person portraying England as a foreign country as seen through the eyes of various Chinese characters – but quite noir in the end). Will come back to re-read your review when I’ve read the book and written it up (for Euro Crime, as I wasn’t lucky enough to get an advance copy personally but Karen was persuasive!).

  3. Looking forward to trying this one when I have more time! Thanks Norm.

  4. […] Crime Scraps Review, Norm (@crimescraps) has been reading Simon Lewis’s second novel Border Run.  ‘At just over 200 pages this book seems almost like an extended short story or novella, but […]

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