PURE by Timothy Mo is published in hardback by Turnaround Books, priced £16.99. Available now.
Award-winning writer Timothy Mo, who has penned such Anglo-Chinese greats as Sour Sweet and The Redundancy Of Courage, has returned after a 12-year break with his seventh novel, Pure.
Set in Thailand, we meet film critic, ladyboy and narrator of the novel Snooky, who manages to get herself into a precarious situation when she's involved in a drug bust.
While questioned by police, she meets MI6 veteran Victor Veridian, who gives her a get out of jail free card - literally.
To avoid 20 years in a Bangkok jail, she will have to spy on her old school friends, who have since become radical Muslims, in the south of Thailand.
Snooky accepts the offer and proceeds to immerse herself into the group as a man called Ahmed. While initially struggling to forget about her Bangkok past, she begins to accept her transition into Ahmed and becomes to love the Muslim faith.
The group begins its terrorist attacks, including a bomb planted at a Phuket disco, which leaves 203 casualties. These horrifying events leave us wondering if our narrator has forgotten her mission and who she really is...
This is a difficult read to begin with. However, once Snooky's story gets going, it's fascinating.
(Review by Emma Everingham)