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Pacific Odyssey Review

Many thanks to Rose Auburn who reached out to share her review of our friend and fellow DXer Ralph Perry’s book, Pacific Odyssey: The Curious Case of Lew 2.0, originally posted on Rose’s review website:

Pacific Odyssey: The Curious Case of Lew 2.0

By Chet Nairene


Thirty-six-year-old tech wizard, Lew Clarke is about to ascend to god-like status at the corporate behemoth he has worked for since leaving Harvard. Accolades, and more importantly to Lew, eye-watering levels of financial recompense are raining down on him.  But when a minor, forgotten issue floats shockingly to the surface, Lew’s gold-plated, superficial existence implodes.

After licking his wounds, Lew embarks on a new business venture, importing highly intricate, bespoke wooden garden ornaments directly from the supplier, Lotus Creations, in the tiny kingdom of Amazia, Southeast Asia.  Money and the good times roll abundantly again. Until a trickle of strange complaints becomes a deluge and Lew is left with no option but to seek out the mysterious retailer from the even more mysterious Amazia…

Pacific Odyssey definitely ranks as one of my favorite novels so far in 2024.  I read Nairene’s earlier novel, Pacific Dash, last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, with Pacific Odyssey, Nairene has shifted up into fifth gear. It’s a highly imaginative and unusual book that I found almost impossible to put down.

From the opening couple of paragraphs, the novel instantly hooks the reader. Confident, breezy, and intriguing, it crackles with comic energy and is deceptively well-written. It would have been easy for Nairene’s depiction of Lew, and his employer, the corporate IT titan, Mega, to have fallen into stereotype.

And, while Nairene does tip the reader a knowing wink for some elements, it’s done with clever subtlety and wry, observational humor, a tone that continues throughout the novel.

The structure and ethos of Mega is not only horribly credible but incredibly well-conceived.  When Lew is put out to pasture at Mega’s global call center in Weehawken, Nairene depicts the place with hellish accuracy.

Although the novel is relatively long, it’s fast-moving with wave after wave of itchy foreboding. None more so than when Lew discovers Lotus Creations. However, underneath the suspense and possible chicanery, a faint sub-textual and thought-provoking commentary emerges as Lew and best friend, Sal, navigate the differences between the East and West cultural mores.

These distinctions prove profound, although Nairene keeps the reader guessing about the Amazians. As the novel gathers pace, a compelling mystery begins to unfold at its heart.

Nonetheless, on the surface at least, Part Two also resembles the finest of travel memoirs, certainly reminiscent of Paul Theroux’s rail journeys. As Lew travels from the capital of Amazia, Ruangbang, up to Biti, a deeply rural backwater, it’s excellent stuff. Kafka-esque, funny, immensely authentic, and never becomes far-fetched even as the reader is hurtled into a surreal rabbit hole.

Lew encounters hurdle after hurdle until assistance appears in the form of Boo, an Amazian who speaks English. The advent of Boo changes the novel a touch, it becomes a little more serious, and also rather spiritual both in terms of the narrative and Lew’s trajectory.

This esoteric turn is enhanced by Nong, Boo’s cousin. She reminded me of Fiona Lo in Nairene’s previous book and, at times, seemed underdeveloped, although her enigmatic countenance and reason for it, form the basis of the narrative’s outcome.

Pacific Odyssey is richly descriptive, vivid, sensory, and full of whip-smart, nimble dialogue, especially between Lew and Sal, whose exchanges are warm and amusingly natural. All of Nairene’s characters from Harry at Mega to Wongrat at the Miracle Royal Pagoda Hotel are wonderfully convincing and step from the page.

Pacific Odyssey is a literary thrill ride. Darkly funny and thought-provoking, it’s written with consummate verve and captivating vibrancy that never fails to entertain. Highly recommended.

Click here to purchase Pacific Odyssey on Amazon.com

[Note: This is an Amazon affiliate link that supports the SWLing Post at no cost to you.]

Click here to check out Rose’s other book reviews.

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Pacific Odyssey: Kindle eBook only 99 cents this week

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and DXer, Ralph Perry, who shares the following announcement (click here for more background in a previous post) :


Click here to check it out on Amazon.com (note that this is an affiliate link that supports the SWLing Post at no cost to you.)

PACIFIC ODYSSEY is a Wild Ride! Something Like ‘Poltergeist’ meets ‘Wall Street’ in a remote Asian kingdom. — James Roby, author of the gritty Urban Knights Series.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PACIFIC ODYSSEY, just published by Banana Leaf Books, is a treat for all fans of international adventure and travel fiction and even romantic fantasy. This captivating story from Chet Nairene, author of the bestselling PACIFIC DASH, offers equal doses of humor, exotica, adventure and romance.

It is available in eBooks all this week for just .99 at Amazon!

This is the story of a brilliant but shallow New York business star who gets in over his head versus dangerous Asian occult forces. In order to save his company, he must journey to an odd hermit kingdom hidden deep in Southeast Asia. And once there, things there soon escalate . . . all in the wrong direction!

In this closed-off, mysterious, but highly ethical new universe, all of Lew Clarke’s modern-day Western knowledge and expertise are essentially useless. He must attempt to navigate the rules of an unfathomable society, but is helped out by a cast pf exotic but charming characters, including Mr. Frog, Wongrat, Uncle Inpanh, Khun Khon and his Amazia sidekick, Boo. Romance strikes the ultra-rural town of Biti, when Lew falls headlong for Boo’s stunning cousin, Miss Nong.

But after discovering the dark secret that threatens the quirky kingdom, Lew’s entire mission transforms into far more than just saving himself.

PACIFIC ODYSSEY is humorous and at times harrowing, a cautionary tale that pits modern Western values and tech against Eastern mysticism and the occult.

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Pacific Odyssey: Latest Novel by DXer Ralph Perry

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ralph Perry, who shares the following announcement:

Big news here is that after five years of hard work, yesterday was publication day for DXer Ralph Perry’s second novel, written under the pen name of Chet Nairene:

PACIFIC ODYSSEY – The Curious Journey of Lew 2.0” follows Ralph’s successful predecessor novel in 2021, PACIFIC DASH – From Asia Vagabond to Casino King.

This new story is a quirky mashup, something like Poltergeist meets Wall Street in rural Asia, with mood and themes similar to PACIFIC DASH . . . exotic and funny, about Westerners muddling about and being lost in Asia, experiencing amusing culture clashes, etc.

Lew Clarke is a thirty-something New York tech business wiz who hooks up a supply line with an odd, tiny company hidden away in a quirky little SE Asian country. After a number of Lew’s customers in America start experiencing horrible accidents, which internet rumors link to his imported products, he is forced to travel to the mini hermit Kingdom of Amazia to unwind the mess. But once there in the tropics, he finds his modern Western knowledge all but useless . . . and things generally further unravel from there. He makes great friends, falls in love, and once he learns the dark secret haunting the Kingdom, his mission becomes more than just saving himself and his company.

Both are available as eBook or paperback.

Ralph sends his thanks in advance and gratitude for early Amazon reviews, which are ever so important to get the novel well launched before the public.

Click here to check it out on Amazon.com (note that this is an affiliate link that supports the SWLing Post at no cost to you.)

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