When I got my copy of The Last Executioner on recommendation, I was more than a little apprehensive settling down to start it. I am a definite graduate of chick lit to historical and literary fiction, but never was drawn to this particular genre. To be honest I didn’t think I’d get past the first chapter but I thought sure I’d give it a go.
Well how wrong could I be! I was straight away transported into Chavoret Jaruboon’s world and fascinated at how an Elvis loving guitar playing young buck about town could end up with the job he had. I was captivated from the word go. I was immediately struck with the great relationship Chavoret had with his father. He adored him and wasn’t afraid to show it through his words. His father instilled in him his grounded and down to earth ambition to get on in life and provide for his own family the way he had been provided for solely by his father. The user friendly style of writing helped my reading ease and the chapters just flew past.
Apart from the ‘man behind the mask’ aspect of the book, I was also drawn - with horror I must admit - into the whole world of Bangkwang prison and I was enthralled with the fly on the wall look at the day to day lives of the prisoners and quite disturbing tales of the executed and how they came upon they’re doomed fate on that cross. Chavoret, although recounting their stories, seemed to be able very easily to shrug off his job and go home to Tew and his family at the end of the day and continue his regular life. I don’t think just anyone could do that job and not bring ghosts home and he obviously is of strong mind and body to leave the prison and what he had done behind at the end of day. I very much admire him as a man and would greatly enjoy meeting him. His story stayed with me for a long time after I finished the book and it completely opened my eyes to the world “out there”. I now find myself scanning the true life/true crime section in my local bookstore rather than immediately heading for my usual well browsed fiction section. I never thought this genre would grab me the way The Last Executioner did and I am very much looking forward to reading Angel of Bang Kwang Prison.
Darrinagh Marshall, Arklow, Co Wicklow, Ireland.