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Welcome to Hell: One Man's Fight for Life Inside the Bangkok Hilton Paperback – 2 Feb 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Maverick House; 1st edition (2 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954870778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954870775
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,161 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"An amazing story...an extraordinary story, there's the making of a good film in it...An incredible achievment." -- Gerry Ryan, RTE 2, May 30th 2005

'A fascinating read, horrifying and entertaining in equal measure. Superbly written.' -- Liverpool Echo

'A fascinating read, horrifying and entertaining in equal measure. Superbly written.' -- Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo

'No matter how much you try, you cannot possibly imagine the terror and horror endured by Colin Martin.' -- The Irish Examiner

'Reading like an unputdownable work of fiction, this true-life tale of the horrors endured by a businessman wrongly convicted of murder....' -- Metro

'Welcome to Hell makes a compulsive, fast moving read and has all the raw material for a movie.' -- Michael McDonnell, The Northern Standard, 2 June 2005

'Welcome to Hell makes a compulsive, fast moving read, and has all the raw materials for a movie.' -- The Northern Standard

...disturbing account of life in a Bangkok jail, Martin chronicles his struggle to survive inside one of the world's most dangerous prisons.' -- Dan Buckley, Irish Examiner, 20th June 2005.

Book Description

"An amazing story...an extraordinary story, there's the making of a good film in it...An incredible achievment."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have no doubt that the state of Thai prisons is as harsh as made out in this book.
Having lived in Thailand for months at a time, I would suggest that the corruption, and violence that stems from that rotten core, as described in this book is perfectly accurate. To say that Police, prison guards and other Thai's treat farang with utter distain I would suggest, is also highly likely. They don't like us much as it is when we're out on the streets, let alone convicted of a serious crime and awaiting sentance.
The thing that had me raising an eyebrow was the inconsistancy of Colin Martin's character.
A family man to start. Kids, wife, good business acumen. Conned out of some serious cash by hard hitting and large scale fraudsters. Ok. So far so good. It happens.
But then we see a darker side to Martin. Maybe its in the way he chose to write the book, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but a man goes from placid businessman, to someone who stalks and hunts the men who ripped him off. Still feasable. For 3 years? Benefit of the doubt.
But the moment comes when he meets one of the fellons and he smashes his face in with a headbutt?! No pre banterr, no real conversing or at least threatening... Just Bang !!! Headbutt and assault. From here on in I was just not taking to Martin's pitiful story probably as much as I should have been.
The fight by the road puzzled me greatly too. And the "evidence" brought against him at a later date. The fight itself seemed to be described in a disjointed fashion. Then later in the book we hear that the dead man had been stabbed more than once. Martin himself describes the police report. But he doesn't try to ask for answers. Or if he did, he didn't write it down in the book?
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I have read a few of these books so was expecting the same sort of story - Thai corruption, dirty prisons etc...But what I found when I read this book was that I couldn't actually believe that he was innocent. How can he go from a 'normal' business man with a family, to a complete thug who headbutts people, then attacks prisoners. I do not believe his account of the fight that happend which ended up with the bodyguard dead. It's all to shaky...Would O'Conner really of just left without his bodyguard and not tried to ring him to see where he was, if Colin is correct in stating that they thought he ran away...I can not believe a body guard would run away after a few punches from Colin? Colin states that his wifes brothers were in the car but all asleep...Whilst he was fighting the bodyguard O'Conner could of run off...Why didn't he? O'Conner could of jumped in and started attacking Colin also, seens as the thai brothers were alseep and it was just Colin they had to fight. It is from this point that I couldn't believe him of his innocence....BUT reading how he was tortured for all those hours is dreadful...(if it was 5 hours, see I kinda then doubt things when I feel I am being lied to) and how the Court system is worked is horrendous. It also amazes how you can be a drug smuggler and get 20 years (Shappelles story), but you can murder someone and get 8 years.

Fair play to Colin for getting fit, and learning a sport and mostly keeping out of trouble - again this is another thing, he says at the beggining of the book that he got beaten daily...then goes on to say he was left alone apart from the odd scuffle he had with the Blue Coats....

I have no doubts in believeing his story when it comes to life inside the prison, and the hospital...I just don't believe he was innocent...
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book whilst on vacation in Thailand, and found it to be an engaging, lightweight holiday read, but was left feeling that only a part of the story had been told. Martin was without doubt the victim of a major, complex fraud and found the police less than helpful at best. There was a very strong sense however that he underplayed the vigor with which he carried out his own inquiries, both with and without the assistance of four of his Thai brothers-in-law.

That he head-butted Hayes in a bar without any physical provocation demonstrates a propensity for violence. The book acknowledges that the body of Holdsworth had suffered several stab wounds; but makes no effort to discuss this in spite of the fact that during the course of their fight, Holdsworth injured Martin with a knife. Martin's account of the circumstances both during and after the fight is curious at best, and the book assumes that the reader will accept it on face value.

Interestingly Martin emerged as something of a "hardman" whilst in prison, which no doubt assisted him to survive the experience. Is this a veneer that one could assume, were it totally out of character? Probably not.

Martin's assertion that "foreigners" were all at risk of being the victim of the thoroughly rotten, corrupt and highly manipulative tourist police is not consistent with the experience of millions of people who visit Thailand each year. It woud be a very difficult secret to keep, even on a minor scale, it was as if by comprehensively trashing the entire Thai criminal-justice system he could in some way justify and explain his own position.

Martin's experience has no doubt been traumatic and damaging, and his desire to protect his young children from the horrific details laudable. This may have been easier to achieve however, had he not published this book less than a month after his release from custody. An entertaining read, but left many questions unanswered. Make up your own mind!
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