Thai Horse

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Christian Hatcher had what the British used to call a “bad war” when he was in Southeast Asia during the years of the American involvement in Vietnam. Operating at the behest of the ubiquitous and thoroughly untrustworthy Harry Sloan, Hatcher earned an enviable, although sanguinary, reputation. Unfortunately for Hatcher, Sloan found it necessary to sacrifice him in the national interest. In consequence, Hatcher spent three horrendous years in a brutal prison in South America. Following his release, Hatcher uses his nefarious skills to become a successful international thief.

After several years, however, Sloan discovers Hatcher’s location and demands that he undertake one last mission to determine if the reportedly dead Murphy Cody, the only son of General William Cody, is, in fact, deceased. Information has been received that Cody survived the wartime plane crash and is now the leader of a ruthless band of drug smugglers operating in Thailand. In order to learn the truth, Hatcher must return to Asia--and face his numerous and murderous enemies. Hatcher also has a few friends, but given the forces arrayed against him, even their help and his considerable talents may prove useless.

In his previous works--CHAMELEON, HOOLIGANS, and SHARKY’S MACHINE-- William Diehl combined a realistic environment with sharp characterizations, an eroticism bordering on the pornographic, and descriptions of violence which simultaneously arouse and repel the reader. THAI HORSE contains those elements yet remains fresh, innovative, and persuasive from the first to the last page. The publishers are offering to return the purchase price to anyone who is dissatisfied with the book--it is hard to believe that they will have many takers.