Short, Sharp Interview : Tom Vater of Crime Wave Press

crime wave pressPDB: What is Crime Wave Press ?

TV: Crime Wave Press is a Hong Kong based fiction imprint that endeavors to publish the best new crime novels from Asia and about Asia to readers around the globe. Founded in 2012 Crime Wave Press publishes a range of crime fiction – from whodunits to Noir and Hardboiled, from historical mysteries to espionage thrillers, from literary crime to pulp fiction, from highly commercial page turners to marginal texts exploring Asia’s dark underbelly.

PDB: Who are the criminal masterminds behind Crime Wave Press?

TV: Crime Wave Press is the brainchild of acclaimed publisher Hans Kemp of Visionary World and seasoned writer Tom Vater (more on me just below).

PDB: Which authors are involved in Crime Wave Press?

TV: The first two books published were my own. More on those below.

Tom Vater has published two crime novels, non-fiction books, travel guides, documentary screenplays, and countless features investigating cultural, social, environmental and political trends and oddities in Asia.

Tom co-wrote the screenplay to The Most Secret Place on Earth, a highly acclaimed documentary on the CIA’s secret war in Laos, which has been broadcast in 25 countries. His book Sacred Skin (co-authored with his wife, photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat), the first English language title on Thailand’s sacred tattoos, has received more than 30 reviews and is a regional bestseller.

Sam Lopez: Sam Lopez is the pseudonym for two well traveled writers based in Britain who, for reasons best known to themselves, prefer to remain anonymous.

After several years on the road, they decided to write a somewhat embellished fictional account of some of their adventures, which eventually became their Philippines-based high seas thriller Dead Sea.

Nick Wilgus: Nick Wilgus lived and worked in Asia for many years. Titles in his Father Ananda murder-mystery series, which include Mindfulness and Murder, Sister Suicide and Killer Karma, have been translated into French, German, Spanish and Italian. An award-winning movie based on Mindfulness and Murder was released in 2011 by DeWarenne Pictures in Bangkok and nominated for Best Screenplay by the Thailand National Films Awards 2012. See the trailer here.

Wilgus was recently named best general columnist by the Mississippi Press Association. He lives in Seattle’s Chinatown district.

Jame Di DiBiasio: Jame DiBiasio is an award-winning financial journalist and editor. He is author of the non-fiction The Story of Angkor (published by Silkworm Books in 2013) and blogs at He lives in Hong Kong.

PDB: Which books have been published so far?

The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu: My first novel The Devil’s Road to Kathmandu is a tense, fast paced and kaleidoscopic pulp thriller, following the lives of two generations of drifters who become embroiled in a saga of sex, drugs and murder on the road between London and the Indian subcontinent. The book, originally published in 2006, was going out of print with its first publisher, so I got the rights back. CWP have relaunched the book as ebook and paperback and have sold the Spanish language rights. The Spanish print edition came out in February 2013 as Kathmandu, camino al infierno. (

The Cambodian Book of the Dead: My second novel follows German detective Maier as he tries to find the young heir to a Hamburg coffee empire in post- war Cambodia, where Apocalypse now meets The Beach and sinks into a morass of war and kidnapping that leads all the way back to Nazi Germany. This is the second foreign rights sale for Crime Wave Press. The book will be published worldwide by Exhibit A ( in June. CWP retain the rights for Thailand and Cambodia.

A second Maier Mystery, The Man with the Golden Mind, will be out with Exhibit A in early 2014.

Dead Sea: Down and out Luke and high-class Tara, linked intimately by a violent incident in London’s seedy King’s Cross, run away to the Philippines to escape their sordid pasts. But the tropics can be unkind to kids on the lam. On a remote island in the South China Sea they soon face more trouble than they can handle – with each other and the local criminal elements. Only a mysterious Englishman with a luxurious dive boat can spring them from their new predicament, with an offer of high seas adventure that has to be too good to be true. But Luke and Tara are in no position to refuse…

“Like a lot of good crime stories, there’s a sampling of themes from similar works – in this case Alex Garland’s book The Beach, and the 1977 Peter Yates film The Deep. But while Dead Sea is a crime story, the book is at its strongest when dissecting the worldview of the long term Western tourist, the way prolonged travel can be both enormously exciting and boring, and what can happen when foreigners who feel they have seen everything suddenly realise they don’t have a clue what is going on. – Andrew Nette at Crime Fiction Lover

Mindfulness and Murder, Sister Suicide, Killer Karma (April/May 2013)
Father Ananda, a Buddhist monk and reluctant detective who lives in a Bangkok monastery, is the creation of American author Nick Wilgus. Wilgus has written three Father Ananda mysteries so far, all republished by Crime Wave Press. The third title Killer Karma is out next month).  The first Father Ananda Mystery, Mindfulness and Murder was made into a feature film in 2011. Father Ananda has been translated into Spanish, Italian, French and German. A fourth title is in the pipeline.

Gaijin Cowgirl (March)
Gaijin Cowgirl is a high octane adventure introducing Val Benson, flaky Tokyo hostess and utterly unreliable protagonist who stumbles across a map to one of the greatest treasures lost in World War II.
With yakuza, motor cycle gangs, rogue CIA, treasure hunters, pimps, Thai boxers and her Congressman father hot on her trail, Val burns a trail of death and destruction across Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Burmese borderlands to get her delicate hands on the loot before someone less deserving does.
Gaijin Cowgirl by American writer Jame DiBiasio is a breathless page turner with a beautiful, dangerous heroine to match.

PDB: Where can we find out more about Crime Wave Press?

Twitter: @crimewavepress

PDB: Is there anything else you think we should know about Crime Wave Press?

Crime Wave Press is looking for authors who can offer complete and well-edited manuscripts of English language crime novels or novellas either based in Asia or containing a strong Asian connection and focus point.

Read our submission guidelines on the website and get in touch at