Vincent Calvino is a fictional Bangkok-based private eye created by Christopher G. Moore in the Vincent Calvino Private Eye series. Vincent Calvino first appeared in 1992 in Spirit House, the first novel in the series. His latest appearance is in The Marriage Tree, the fourteenth novel in the series published in 2014. “Hewn from the hard-boiled Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler model, Calvino is a tough, somewhat tarnished hero with a heart of gold.”—Mark Schreiber, The Japan Times.
Moore’s protagonist, Vincent Calvino, half Jewish and half Italian, is an ex-lawyer from New York, who, under ambiguous circumstances, gave up law practice and became a private eye in Bangkok. Calvino has often been likened to classic hardboiled detective characters like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, and Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. “The hard-bitten worldview and the cynical, bruised idealism of his battered hero [Vincent Calvino] is right out of Chandler,” wrote Kevin Burton Smith in January Magazine. The Daily Yomiuri called Calvino “a thinking man’s Philip Marlowe … a cynic on the surface but a romantic at heart.” The Nation calls Calvino “a worthy successor of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer.” “Hewn from the hardboiled Dashiell Hammett/Raymond Chandler model, Calvino is a tough, somewhat tarnished hero with a heart of gold” (Mark Schreiber, Japan Times). Some critics see Moore’s work a little differently however. Douglas Fetherling said “Moore is a genuine novelist who just happens to employ the conventions of the thriller genre, that his real interests are believable human behavior and way cultures cross-pollinate and sometimes crash. [His work] is real prose, not Raymond Chandler stuff, and his motives are as close to art as they are to entertainment.”
Vincent Calvino Private Eye Series
Moore’s Vincent Calvino Private Eye series is a hardboiled crime fiction in the western tradition reinvented in an exotic but realistic Southeast Asia. The series is among the first English-language crime fiction that introduces the element of Noir Fiction into the world of Southeast Asian crime fiction. The Vincent Calvino mysteries are dark and realistic, interwoven with contemporary local and international affairs.
“Moore’s work recalls the international ‘entertainments’ of Graham Greene or John le Carré....Intelligent and articulate, Moore offers a rich, passionate and original take on the private eye game, fans of the genre should definitely investigate, and fans of foreign intrigue will definitely appreciate,” (Kevin Burton Smith, January Magazine).
The Thrilling Detective has said of the Calvino series: "A big part of Moore's charm is his unerring eye for the intricacies of not just the Thai culture but also the Thai psyche, and the curious demimonde of the expat community, caught forever in the tug-of-war between East and West…. [H]e captures the sights and sounds and the lights of Bangkok's nightlife particularly well."
Novels from the Vincent Calvino series have been translated or are in the process of being translated into a number of languages, including German, French, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Turkish, Norwegian and Thai.
The third novel in the Vincent Calvino series Zero Hour in Phnom Pehn (original Cut Out) won the 3rd place of 2004 German Critics Award for Crime Fiction (Deutscher Krimi Preis) in the international crime fiction category.[better source needed] Asia Hand, the second Calvino novel, won the Shamus Award sponsored by the Private Eyes of America in 2011 in the Best Paperback Original category.
Chad A. Evans' Vincent Calvino's World, A Noir Guide to Southeast Asia (2015) explores the historical and cultural context of the 15 Calvino novels written over 25 years.
Novels in the Vincent Calvino series
- Spirit House (1992) ISBN 974-8495-58-2
- Asia Hand (1993) ISBN 974-8495-70-1
- Zero Hour in Phnom Penh (original title: Cut Out) (1994) ISBN 974-87116-3-3
- Comfort Zone (1995) ISBN 974-87754-9-6
- The Big Weird (1996) ISBN 974-89677-3-5
- Cold Hit (1999) ISBN 974-92104-1-7
- Minor Wife (2002) ISBN 974-92126-5-7
- Pattaya 24/7 (2004) ISBN 974-92066-6-5
- The Risk of Infidelity Index (2007) ISBN 978-974-88168-7-6
- Paying Back Jack (2009) ISBN 978-974-312-920-9
- The Corruptionist (2010) ISBN 978-616-90393-3-4
- 9 Gold Bullets (2011) ISBN 978-616-90393-7-2
- Missing In Rangoon (2013) ISBN 978-616-7503-17-2
- The Marriage Tree (2014) ISBN 978-616-7503-23-3
- Crackdown (2015) ISBN 978-616-7503-32-5.
- Crime fiction
- List of detective fiction authors
- List of mystery writers
- List of crime writers
- List of Canadian writers
- List of novelists by nationality
- Vincent Calvino Official website
- Christopher G. Moore official website
- Author's Homepage
- Author's Interview
- Houston Chronicle: The Risk of Infidelity Index
- Seattle Times: The Risk of Infidelity Index
- Japan Times: Interview
- New York Times: The Risk of Infidelity Index
- The Independent: Crime fiction: Around the world in 80 sleuths
- The Telegraph
- The Daily Mail