A Novel of Thailand


Reviews of Kingdom of Make-Believe

A tantalizing taste of a culture, worlds apart from our own. Dean Barrett paints a sharp, clear picture of the reality of life. An excellent account of one man’s struggle to find the truth in his existence. Very Highly Recommended.”

- Under the Covers Book Review

An absolutely astounding novel. Its depth and layers of perception will have you fascinated from start to finish...Highly entertaining!”

- Buzz Review News

Kingdom of Make-Believe is an exciting thriller that paints a picture of Thailand much different from that of The King and I. The story line is filled with non-stop action, graphic details of the country, and an intriguing allure that will hook readers of exotic thrillers....Very Highly Recommended.”


Barrett spins a tightly packed tale that is part murder mystery, part midlife-crisis love story and part travelogue, with vibrant and seductive Thailand in a leading role. This mystery would be of particular interest to aficionados of Asian culture and lore, especially those who have visited Thailand. It’s a very quick read that keeps the reader continually guessing at the next plot twist."

- Today’s Librarian

A wise and well written book. It is full of startling, offbeat scenes that burn into your consciousness. In subtle and unexpected ways, Kingdom of Make-Believe describes the exotic and the grotesque, the beauty and the mystery, the danger and the flamboyance when life in Thailand had a steamy and darker edge.”

- Tom Chapman, Editor, Sawasdee magazine

A poignant and perceptive novel describing the passions unleashed when West meets East. Kingdom of Make-Believe is written with sensitivity and style by a writer who has a clear understanding of both worlds.”

- John Hoskin, author, The Mekong

Kingdom of Make-Believe captures a slice of Thailand as it really is -- and was. The novel could only have been written by one who has experienced the Kingdom – and felt the pangs of seeing its magic mirrors crack and shatter.”

- Denis Gray, Chief of Bureau, AP, Bangkok

An adventure story, an exploration of Thailand’s exotic delights and an inquiry into the aftermath of the Vietnam War.”

- Publishers Weekly

An exciting thriller...Anyone who takes pleasure in visiting a different lifestyle should read this reverent but genuine portrayal of another world. A gripping mystery documenting Dean Barrett as a writer in full possession of his craft.”

- The Midwest Book Review

Sharp, often poetic and pleasantly twisted, Kingdom of Make-Believe is a tautly-written fictional tour of Thailand....Author Dean Barrett has woven a compelling and believable tale about a country he knows well....Barrett’s prose is spare, but his images are rich: a winning combination....His obvious intimate knowledge of Thailand combined with a very considerable writing talent make Kingdom of Make-Believe a tough book to put down.”

- January Magazine

Barrett is a powerful storyteller who has a feeling for language that’s lacking in many contemporary novels. His dialog is a pleasure to read, and his descriptions from the nightlife in Bangkok to the Thai countryside are vivid.”

- Laughing Bear Newsletter

Barrett has a gift for taking us into cultures worlds apart from our own, displaying a reverence for their exotic and grotesque as well as their beauty and history....”

- The Poisoned Pen

A thrilling page-turner. Barrett brilliantly evokes the suffocating fumes of Bangkok traffic, the nauseating morning-after stench of alcohol and smoke in its go-go bars, as well as the lurid lies and deception of washed-up expat lowlifes in Thailand. God, I miss that place!”

- Stuart Lloyd, author, Hardship Posting

I've just finished my third trip to Thailand this year, and already recognize a trend: each trip, I buy more and more books to take back to the States. This gets me through the months until I return, and I've become a tireless fan of Bangkok fiction.

I've just finished "Kingdom of Make-Believe", and it's the best of the bunch, by far. There are many passages I could point to that were painterly in their descriptive qualities, but perhaps the description of Suntaree's face at the top of page 53 is my favorite. The sad thing about the book? It ended, while I desperately wanted to live with the characters a little while longer. Thanks for a book that still lingers.

 - Geoff Alexander Director Academic Film Archive of North America


Kingdom of Make-Believe: A Novel of Thailand. ISBN: 0-9661899-0-6. Trade paperback 8 1/2 x 5 1/2. US$11.95. Publication date: July, 1999. 280 pp. An exciting novel set in Manhattan, Hong Kong and mainly Thailand in 1988. A mystery, a love story.  Reprinted several times.  New cover.

United States Distribution: Midpoint Trade Books/Ingram/Baker & Taylor

Asian Distribution: Asia Books/United Century/Bookazine/MarketAsia