Nick Seeley, Simon & Schuster, $33
Photojournalist Will Keller has been living in Cambodia for nine years. He is good at his job but has thrown himself into the seedier side of the local culture with just a little too much enthusiasm. Binge-drinking sessions, drugs and casual, almost anonymous sex, are taking their toll and Will knows he can’t fall much lower into the mire. Then comes a chance at redemption of sorts; a plea to find June, a young journalist who has gone missing while chasing a story. June’s sister, the beautiful Kara Saito, begs Will to help and he agrees – for the challenge and the money. As Will searches for June he uncovers alarming details about the girl and her family. He also finds corruption at the highest levels, is kidnapped and tortured, narrowly escaping with his life. Seeley’s first book will not be for everyone. Some of the violence is stomach-turning but there isn’t a lot to be gained by sugar-coating the Cambodian underworld where life is cheap.