Bangkok Rules by Harlan Wolff

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    Bangkok Rules has all the ingredients: A clever private detective, villains, and an outstanding background written professionally.

    Thailand is terrified. A sadistic serial killer has been abducting young innocents for his ritual horror and the authorities are clueless. Carl Engel is an enigma. The blunt Londoner has forged a thirty-year career as a private investigator amid the chaos of Thailand’s political history.

    Struggling with advancing years and a decreasing workload he is approached by an elderly American with a lucrative missing persons case. The case descends into the sordid world of the elusive serial killer and a menacing web of political intrigue dating back to the Vietnam War.

    Carl must use his guile and experience to stay alive, find the killer and negotiate the dangerous military interests that lurk behind the scenes.

    Based on a real person Carl Engel lives in a world rarely seen by outsiders and hauls the reader on a pulsating ride to the explosive conclusion.

    About Harlan Wolff:

    Harlan Wolff
    Harlan Wolff

    Harlan Wolff has lived in Thailand since 1977 and is a successful Private Investigator and troubleshooter specializing in major crime and serious corporate issues. His first book Bangkok Rules is a gritty and real account of a Bangkok based PI’s milieu.

    Harlan Wolff can be reached at his business website or

    “Bangkok Rules! So does Harlan Wolff. If there’s a better thriller set in Bangkok I’ve yet to read it.” – Stephen Leather (Bestselling Author)

    Review by Caroline Lim:

    Carl Engel, a private investigator who has mastered the workings of the underbelly of Bangkok, is approached by an American and asked to take on the case of locating his brother, one suspected of being a serial killer back in the US more than 20 years ago. He suspects his brother might be behind the terrifying murders that have recently taken place in Bangkok, even though there are no clues left behind on the mutilated corpses.

    Carl’s investigations lead him to uncover a dangerous man who will not hesitate to kill anyone he considers a mere nuisance to his lucrative operations. When Carl finds himself now the hunted and not the hunter, it takes every trick he’s learned through the years and some good friends to keep him alive long enough for him to stage a most thrilling expose.

    The seediness of Bangkok is brought under the full glare of stage lights in this novel, the corruption that everyone considers the norm for oiling the cogs of getting anything done in this city, and the world that expats have carved for themselves.

    Review by Ms. I Read to Escape:

    I liked the dirt beneath the fingernails feeling of this book. The setting was particularly well done, as many reviewers remarked before: clearly the author knows Bangkok. For myself, I will likely never get to see Thailand, so it was fun to read a culturally accurate work. I definitely felt like I was there, smelling the pollution, overhearing conversations, tasting the food and so on.

    The story itself was fairly interesting, and I liked the intellectual gymnastics the MC had to accomplish to solve the problem.

    Probably my favorite aspect of the book was the abundance of flawed characters. Not a single one was perfect or even very photogenic for that matter. Another reviewer used the word ‘gritty’ to describe the book and that is definitely the best word to describe the characters, the plot and the city. I felt the characters were full of depth and potential. I connected to them, so a job well done by Mr. Wolff.

    Review By Roy Murry:

    I have been reviewing detective/whodunit books for about 40 years now. They are my favorite genre. Bangkok Rules has all the ingredients: A clever private detective, villains, and an outstanding background written professionally.

    Wolff’s PI Carl Engel is put in a position of doom, where he has no control over the events in his adopted country Thailand – he adopted it. He has learned the Thai way of life with its underlining currents of corruption since his teens.

    He is given a case by an unlikely source. This client brings about his own future, which leads to the unfolding of an evil person who enjoys his life style. His corruption is so vile, that the fowl stench upsets Carl into action.

    Carl’s action is confusing to the people around him, who are aiding him to the point that most feel he should leave the country. He is up against a truly destructive powerful group of individuals.

    He finds his way to everyone’s surprise including one of his targets. He overcomes his adversities.

    Wolff’s fast paced novel kept me intrigued. I have been to Thailand, Vietnam, and other counties in Asia. If you haven’t, this is a good read to get you in touch. If you have, the novel will please you with its content.