Book Review: Laundry Man by Jake Needham


There has been a neat little explosion of novels set in Thailand. Mostly written by expats and travelers, these novels largely focus on a Westerner’s experience in a country that is both delightful and alien at the same time. Christopher G. Moore is the first author of Thailand expat novels I found, but then I found others worth reading and reviewing. Jake Needham is one to watch for and I am glad I stumbled across his books on Amazon.

Laundry Man is the first of four in his Jack Shepherd series. The protagonist is a professor of law in Bangkok. After leaving a far more exciting and lucrative career in international law, he decides to chuck it all away to teach law at a university in Thailand. I won’t ruin the story for you, but Needham does a great job of hinting at Mr. Shepherd’s past and shady former associates who come back to haunt him, ruining his great escape from the rat race. The author also paints a portrait of Asia that has its own set of challenges and booby traps.

Other expat authors, such as Moore, often portray an expat working as a detective in Thailand. Much of the adventure in the novels revolves around a foreigner trying to help his foreign clients while negotiating a culture that has its own rules. Needham depicts a foreign lawyer. Less Raymond Chandler and more Wall Street. Still, the result is the same: a fish out of water trying to figure what to do next.

I won’t tell you anymore. Up to you to read the book. The author has several other books set in Asia that are now on my to-read list. For more info, check out his personal site at

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