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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey ,Joe! Me love you long time.
When I was young and single, I fantasized about visiting Bangkok's fleshpot buffet. But, even 11 years in the Navy didn't provide the opportunity as I never made it away from Stateside. Now that I'm older, married, and only marginally wiser, I doubt that my wife would let me go - even if I could imagine conjuring up the energy to carouse once I got there. And there is, of...
Published on 22 Dec. 2005 by Mr. Joe

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3.0 out of 5 stars ENTERTAINING AND MORE EDUCATIONAL THAN LONELY PLANET
I'd been intending to get this book for some time, then I chanced upon it in a second hand bookshop in Chiang Mai earlier in the year. After reading it, I googled Stephen Leather. I hadn't known he was a massively successful thriller writer and that Private Dancer was not his usual type of offering. The book itself I found rather educational and more so than Lonely...
Published 19 months ago by J


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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey ,Joe! Me love you long time., 22 Dec. 2005
By 
Mr. Joe (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
When I was young and single, I fantasized about visiting Bangkok's fleshpot buffet. But, even 11 years in the Navy didn't provide the opportunity as I never made it away from Stateside. Now that I'm older, married, and only marginally wiser, I doubt that my wife would let me go - even if I could imagine conjuring up the energy to carouse once I got there. And there is, of course, the sobering specter of AIDS. But, should any of you young studs embark on the tour, PRIVATE DANCER should be required reading before reaching the airport departure gate.
Pete is a freelance writer hired by a publishing house to edit a new cookery book/travel guide for Thailand. Once ensconced in Bangkok, Pete is introduced to the red-light district by friend Nigel, where Pete meets pole dancer/prostitute Joy in the Zombie Bar. Pete is smitten despite advice from the resident expats that it's best not to get emotionally involved with a bar babe. And despite all the evidence, some provided by a private detective, that Joy is simply using Pete as a cash ATM, that she's married to a Thai man, and that she has sex with other farang (foreign) customers when he's out of town, Pete remains enamored of his PRIVATE DANCER. He desperately wants to believe her excuses, lies, and proclamations of true love - "I love you and have you in my heart only one. Miss you all the time."
Author Stephen Leather takes an interesting approach to the story, telling it alternately from the viewpoints of Pete, Joy, Pete's farang friends and acquaintances (Nigel, Big Ron, Bruce, Jimmy), the private detective Phiraphan, Pete's employer Alistair, and a certain Professor Bruno Mayer, an expert on prostitution in Thailand and cross-cultural relationships between the sex workers and their customers. What results is a fascinating and informative parable on the perils of falling for a Bangkok hooker that's probably just as valid no matter what the city, country, or nationality of the working girl. Indeed, as Stephen describes the milieu of Pete's tragic experience, the reader perhaps understands that it's more of a culture clash than anything else. From Joy's perspective, her life and means of getting money for herself and her family back in their village are nothing unusual or immoral. For her, emotional love for, and the provision of money by, a man are two sides of the same coin. The problem for westerner Pete, a Brit, is that he necessarily separates the two. In the end, the open-minded reader can rightly attach no blame to either, but only marvel at Pete's foolishness in the face of good advice from his Anglo and Australian friends that are old Bangkok hands.
PRIVATE DANCER seemed, at times, a bit too long for the message. In an email correspondence with Leather, I asked if the tale was based on the experience of anyone he knew. With utter candor, the author implied that at least some of the story derived from his own youthful follies. Perhaps Stephen was driven to over-emphasize the lesson - "Don't let this happen to you!" In any case, the book is an engaging addition to the backpack as you set out to sample the neon-bathed, x-rated delights of Patpong, Nana Plaza, and Soi Cowboy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘A must read for anyone visiting Thailand for the first time’, 2 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Private Dancer (Kindle Edition)
After travelling Thailand, returning back to Blighty and missing Bangkok's musk and mystique, I was handed a copy of Stephen Leather’s ‘Private Dancer.’ This was one of the first Thai-based books I ever read and in my opinion, still the best. It inspired me to write my own book and I did. It’s out on Amazon as you read this!

Written by a successful crime writer, Leather has obviously experienced the seedier side of Thailand for himself or at least, has a very good source.
Action from the get-go, this book hooks you from the first line. I’d heard some sob stories from farangs I‘d met and Leather’s take on what can and still does happen in ‘The Land of Smiles,’ rings very true; perhaps it even serves to educate those horny guys that come to Thailand and leave there brain at the airport!
‘Private Dancer’ captures an unfortunate tale of a travel-writer who falls in love with a beautiful working girl. He sees her dancing in a hostess bar, is instantly drawn to her and later pays her bar-fine and takes her home.
Told perfectly through the eyes of the girls and the guys as they speak in their own voice, their distinct viewpoint gives a believable interpretation of the events as they unfold. Each of their voices adds another layer to a story which, in the end, is that of two young people caught in a conflict of cultures that they really don't understand. A roller-coaster ride leaves you with an ultimate twist at the end and a desire to find the next Stephen Leather tale of Thailand.
Extremely fast paced, ‘PD’ is gripping, funny, sad and un-put-down-able. Each page leaves you wanting more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read that was hard to put down, 10 April 2013
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This review is from: Private Dancer (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book as I am going on my first holiday to Thailand. i thought the author's research would give me an insight that goes beyond travel guides. It definitely did give me that insight, although part of me wishes I hadn't read about that side of Thailand (the racism towards westerners and poor hospitality hidden behind smiles). It was a great novel though with a gripping plot, interesting characters and I definitely learned things. My only criticisms of this book is that there are a lot of characters so it did get confusing at times (more an issue with the ex-pats than Thai characters) although it didn't detract from the reading experience so not a massive issue. The whole book was written in first person and some of the expressions the Thai characters used sounded a bit too much like English expressions to me, but again not a big issue for me. It read like the author was writing this in an autobiographical way, and sometimes it was a bit repetitive in its critique of Thai bar girls, in which case I felt a bit sorry for the author for having experienced and feeling so burned by some of these cultural differences between Thai and English. At the end of the book the disclaimer states it is based on fiction rather than personal experience (so the author may take that as a compliment or an insult that it sounded so genuine to me I was convinced he must have been badly hurt by a Thai bargirl).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good advice wrapped in a great read, 9 May 2013
By 
Artefact "Artefact" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
I can do little more than confirm what has been said in other reviews.

This is a good story, very well told. The books draws you in and, once it has your attention, doesn't let it go.

The technique of telling the story from a variety of viewpoints could have failed so easily. The genius in the writing is that it does not do so because each of the observers has a completely separate "voice" - a distinct viewpoint, a distinct interpretation of the events as they unfold. It never seems contrived. Each of the voices adds another layer to a story which, in the end, is that of two young people caught in a conflict of cultures that they really don't understand.

Although I have no experience of such a trip, I would imagine that the book should also be compulsory reading for any young man intending to sample the famous flesh pots described. The book will not put you off going, but it will give you a better chance of coming back physically, financially and (above all) emotionally intact.

Do not let that deter you from a rattling good read. The story is well constructed and entertaining. Leather's work varies in quality, but is always readable. This is one of his best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, 9 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
I first read this book back in 2006 when I first got to Pattaya, Thailand. Back then I was as green as the grass!! I now know so much about Thai culture and the bar girl as I used to live there for 7 years working myself so I could probably write my own book!! The book is very true in many ways and will educate the many farangs that leave there brain at the airport when they arrive in Thailand!! I used to sell property in Pattaya and so I have heard all the stories that can be told regarding anything to survive and gain money!! I have a lovely Thai wife and 2 children, we now live in the UK but I would go back at the drop of a hat to Thailand, I love it.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too true!, 22 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
I bought this book after several days in Bangkok, staying in a hotel bang on Nana Plaza. After hearing some sob stories from the westerners (Farangs) I came across in the bars it rings very true. Anyone who has been to one of the bars feels that the girls only have eyes for them when in fact a high proportion see the men as horny fools. The book captures this perfectly through the eyes of the girls and the guys, a rivetting read which I agree should be read by any man hoping to save any of the Gogo dancers from their life of sleeze. Top marks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading!, 23 July 2014
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This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
As it says on the book it should be first time reading for every first time visitor to Thailand. Having been many times I can tell you that the author is spot on about the perils that can come with Thailand.
That doesn't mean you can't have a great time in LOS but forewarned is forearmed.
The author has a very good source or has experienced Thailand for himself.
I can read this book time and time again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A 'must' read for those anticipating enjoying the nightlife in Thailand, 31 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Private Dancer (Kindle Edition)
Well researched, very authentic and scary. Those of us who live in Thailand will recognize many truisms of Thai people, without having frequented the 'Go-Go' Bars.
I would have given this book 5 stars but I thought some of the Thai characters showed a particular western way of thinking in some instances.
This I a cracking good yarn, true to life and left me feeling a little uneasy, without knowing why.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READ, 30 April 2013
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This review is from: Private Dancer (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed this book very much which was recommended to me by my son. Having visited Thailand many times including visiting Patpong for the night market (which is also surrounded by girlie bars) i found the book entertaining and written with humour and integrity. Would recommend it to anyone planning to visit Thailand - it also makes a good holiday read for those already familiar with the country
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not all Thai bar girls are as naughty as this!, 12 Jun. 2010
By 
S. Caton (South Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Private Dancer (Paperback)
Brilliant book. Based on someones real life experiences I think. If you are a single bloke off to Thailand for the first time it's an essential read. If you've been to Bangkok, Pattaya or anywhere else with go go bars or bar girls 20 times or more it's still a rivetting read and will make you think and maybe make you more careful. I wont spoil the story but it'll give you an insight into how Thai people think. They are so different from us. I love Thailand and Thai people. I've read a lot of Stephen Leather books and this one is completely different from the rest, I've liked all of them but this one I have enjoyed the most.
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Private Dancer
Private Dancer by Stephen Leather
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