“Pacific Dash: From Asia Vagabond to Casino King ” by Chet Nairene

This story is presented as Adventure Travel. It lives up to the billing, but there is an overtone of Fantasy that mirrors how a certain level of the population lives. A world of riches and influence, where everything comes easy, and the troubles of ordinary people don’t intrude.

On the positive side, this gives the main character continual optimism about how his life will turn out, and this lifts the tone of the writing. On the negative side, his blithe ignorance gets him into trouble more often than not, which creates the conflict in the book.

The story also contains hints of autobiography, with wonderful, detailed descriptions of exotic settings. This author has definitely been there and loves the area.

Problem with a first person, autobiographic style is the tendency to downplay the conflict. It’s the macho sort of , “Yeah, it was tough, but I coped with it.”  This tends to reduce suspense and often gets in the way of emotional involvement by the reader.

If I saw one weakness in this story, it was the approach to life of the main character. Good heroes are people who act. They make decisions that count and then see the action through. This character rather wanders through life. Things happen to him, and he doesn’t make decisions or take charge. His life oscillates through stages where he is suddenly free to choose his path. Instead of taking control, he throws himself onto the mercy of fate, and away he goes again. He is a likeable, personable character, and he has all the right feelings, but he doesn’t always follow through with his actions, so he doesn’t garner much respect from the reader.

The secondary characters are vivid and, like the settings, exotic and a touch stereotyped. This sets up an appealing contrast with the young Midwestern main character and gives the reader an avenue into their bizarre world.

The conclusion of the story is open-ended, leaving the possibility of either a sequel for the characters or a daydream for the reader.

A light, entertaining introduction to a time, place and lifestyle most of us know little about.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

About the Author: Gordon Long

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