Sitting in a cabin, white sands, blue skies, waving palms and the soft hush of the rolling ocean. Its hard to imagine anything to wake this calm idyll. I read Jakarta Shadows on a beach in SE Asia - whilst escaping the perils of contemporary city life, in search of a life less ordinary, Jakarta Shadows is surely it. Heart pounding adrenalin courses as you step into an underworld of fellow escapees, Jakarta's expatriot community, fascist political servants and passionate revolutionaries. Our central character is an innocent pawn in a game where the players are driven by paranoia, during turbulent times for a country trying to re-invent itself. Take the adventure and obscurity from "The Beach", mix with criminal undercurrents and mafioso power games of "Graham Greene", and stir in a little "Cocaine Nights" to capture the spirit of this not only believable, but very real must read....
I was extremely happy to find this book for my Summer Hols. Like The Beach, Alan Brayne explores the darker side of a South-East Asian paradise. However, unlike Alex Garland's best-seller, Jakarta Shadows is a fast-paced thriller which pulls no punches. It also challenges the reader to question whether Indonesia has really made "progress" since the overthrow of Suharto and the advent of democracy. As someone who has travelled in Indonesia, it never ceases to amaze me at the acute lack of interest in this country, especially as it is the largest Muslim country in the world. This book would be an excellent introduction to anybody wanting to know more about Indonesia, while still providing an absorbing story.
Jakarta Shadows is an enlightening account of one mans extra-ordinary experience living and working in Indonesia during turbulent times. Graham, our central character is immediately personable with his batchelor lifestyle and indifference to post -colonial expat society. His journey as an innocent pawn mixed up in a complex underworld of political and revolutionary power struggles, is not only gripping, but completely believable. It is unusual that I should enjoy such an adventure without romance, but so well written as it is, I found myself absorbed from the first chapter. If you are a lover of JG Ballard, or likewise Asia and the Orient, Jakarta Shadows will get under your skin.
For me, it was very interesting to read a book about my own country. I like the book because the author is not arrogant - in my country we say sombong. He understands that my country has problems with corruption but now there is reformasi and perhaps in the future my country will be free. I very like the way he talks about the IMF and how they are not really friends of my country but friends of America and big financal business. I think if you read this book you will understand my country more.
When I saw this book, I am interested because Jakarta is my capital city. So I bought it and I read it, what it looked like. I think the writer is very good because he does not seem arrogant about my country - in Indonesia we call it sombong. I think he knows my country and it made me think of home. Jakarta Shadows is a very exciting book. If everyone wants to know about my country, I recommended you to read it.
Had me gripped from the first paragraph. Gin-sodden, alienated aid worker, Graham, is caught up in an investigation into a series of sex murders and manipulated by shadowy forces so he can't tell who, if anyone, he can trust. He's far from your traditional square-jawed hero, but as the odds against his survival mount, your sympathy for this flawed narrator grows: by the time he faces interrogation by a malevolent but exquisitely polite stranger in his own soulless living room I was shaking with terror along with him. What's more, Brayne lives up to his name: he feeds the brain as well as jangling the nerves. Too many thrillers set in developing countries use the location just as an exotic backdrop, and convince you only that the author's flown in for some brief tax-deductible research. Alan Brayne has apparently lived in Indonesia for years, and it shows. I've never been there, but I could smell the poverty, feel the heat, squirm at the behaviour of drunk sex tourists and the self-satisfied superiority of even well-meaning westerners - and sympathise with the Indonesians who do what they must to earn some sort of living. He shows you how corruption rots everything it touches, so you can begin to understand how impossible it must be to keep your hands clean. I'm not sure that I ever unravelled what was going on - I guess you're probably not supposed to - but found it an immensely satisfying read. If you like Graham Greene, Timothy Mo or even Alex Garland you'll love this. And if you're heading for Bali's beaches, this'll give you a better glimpse under the surface of life in Indonesia than any guidebook.