What You Don't Know
by Elka Ray GENRE: Suspense/crime/short stories
An American lawyer dreams of killing his trophy wife in Thailand. A Vietnamese soldier goes mad in a haunted forest. A bereaved mother's trip to Cambodia ends in tragedy - or does it?
Take a spine-tingling journey from the jungles of Sumatra through Bangkok's seedy bars to the seemingly sedate streets of Singapore. Your traveling companions are a slew of dark emotions - fear, grief, jealousy, greed, lust and revenge. And your destination?
With flashes of black humor and hard-to-forget characters, these ten stories shine light into the dark corners of Southeast Asia.
“Kyle?” I yell. I’m sure my son is gone, sucked down to the bottom.
Blinking against the blood, I see him lying face down on the deck. He’s got himself wedged against the boat’s sides like a rock climber. I call again and he twists his head. I must look pretty bad, because he gasps. “D—dad?”
The boat is still rocking, but not enough to tip. Water sloshes back and forth. Kyle pushes himself onto his hands and knees. We both look around. Beneath the streaks of rain, the sea is dead calm. No swell. No big whitecaps. Nothing. “Shit. What happened?” says my son. His face appears bleached. “What was that?” I’ve been boating in these waters for going on two decades but can’t explain what hit us. If it was the wake from a big cargo ship there’d have been more waves. That wave came from nowhere. Was it a whale? I shake my head. “I…I don’t know,” I say.
The engine has stalled. My hands are shaking so hard I have trouble restarting it. It roars to life once, twice, only to cut out.
"Daaaad! You're flooding it," says Kyle, his voice a hysterical whine. "It won't start! It won't start! You've flooded it!"
I grit my teeth. "Fine, you try."
If he hears, he doesn't respond but just hugs his knees. "My god. My god. She's here. She's here." He says it over and over again.
"Shut up!" I yell, and my son stops. He presses his palms to his cheeks. I force myself to count to ten before trying the motor again, terrified that Kyle's right: If the motor is flooded, we're stuck out here.
At the age of eleven, Elka Ray co-founded the Double Trouble Detective Agency. She’s been on the lookout for mysteries ever since. Elka’s latest book, “What You Don’t Know: Tales of Obsession, Mystery & Murder in Southeast Asia”, takes readers on a darkly suspenseful tour of the Far East. Her first novel, a fast-paced romantic adventure titled “Hanoi Jane”, was published by Marshall Cavendish in English and DT Books in Vietnamese. Elka’s next novel, the thriller “Saigon Dark”, will come out with Crimewave Press in November 2016. Elka is also the author and illustrator of a popular series of bilingual kids’ picture books about Vietnam.
Elka divides her time between Hoi An in Central Vietnam and Canada’s scenic Vancouver Island. When she’s not writing, drawing or reading she’s in - or near -the ocean.
I was born in the UK and taken to live in Uganda at three months old, then moved to Canada at age four. After high school I spent six months backpacking around Southeast Asia and fell in love with this region. In 1995 I moved to Vietnam "for one year", found a journalism job and stayed. I now live by the beach near Hoi An, a charming old town in Central Vietnam that's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Southeast Asia is developing quickly. Every day something changes. It can be depressing, as when a beautiful historic building is knocked down and replaced by an ugly box, or inspiring, like when a once-poor family starts a successful business. What I love most about this part of the world is the buzz. Everyone's working hard and looking to the future. People are optimistic. Life can be chaotic but it's never boring.
I still work as an editor, illustrate kids' books and write fiction. My recent short story collection, WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW: TALES OF OBSESSION, MYSTERY & MURDER IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, features ten short stories set throughout this fascinating region. If you enjoy travelling and mysteries, check it out!