Chris Thrall left the Royal Marines to find fortune in Hong Kong, but following a bizarre series of jobs ended up homeless and in psychosis from crystal methHe began working for the K, a notorious crime syndicate, as a nightclub doorman in the Wan Chai redlight district, where he uncovered a vast global conspiracy and the 'Foreign Triad'a secretive expat clique in cahoots with the Chinese gangsAlone and confused in the neon glare of Hong Kong's seedy backstreets, Chris was forced to survive in the world's most unforgiving city, hooked on the world's most dangerous drugEngaging, honest and full of Chris's irrepressible humour, this remarkable memoir combines gripping storytelling with brooding menace as the Triads begin to cast their shadow over him The result is a truly psychotic urban nightmare Chris Thrall is a young man with extraordinary gifts gifts that I hope have survived the terrible psychotic breakdown that he experienced after living on little else but drugs, it would seem, for a year in Hong Kong Other reviewers have mentioned the humour, but what, for me, was the most remarkable part of this tale was the way reality and paranoia merged The slip from normality to madness was extremely well portrayed I will throw books away after a few chapters if they don't grab me this had me grabbed right to the end As someone who knows Hong Kong well, I learnt quite a bit that was new My own book King Hui: The Man Who Owned All the Opium in Hong Kong was a streetview tale of Hong Kong up to the early 1990s Chris Thrall's book adds an important element to the continuing story of that extraordinary city, Hong Kong When Chris Thrall left England for Hong Kong in search of his fortune and fame, the outcome he received was most likely not the one that he had hoped for Leaving a career in the military, he hurried out to Hong Kong to capitalize on a booming business, ready to entertain the wealthy and make a fortune While he found a funloving group of friends, he also found the potent and dangerous drug, crystal meth This blunt and entertaining read is the story of Mr.Thrall’s coming of age the hard way, and I mean hard.Filled with ambition and the confidence that he could succeed in a new country, Chris begins his career in the business world only to realize that his need for adventure is not being met He turns to the nightclub world, doing stints as a DJ as well as a doorman During this time, Chris gives an honest and heartfelt impression of the inside of Hong Kong ethos, throwing little tidbits in while he’s making every effort to remain respectful of a culture in which he is the expat However, the drug takes a deeper hold on him and makes it impossible for him to remain long in each job, and his friends come and go He ends up working for a club run by triads, and as his addiction increases he plays a dangerous game of inadvertently offending the most feared group in Hong Kong.Chris does an exceptional job portraying his decline into the deepest forms of addiction Once a selfassured gogetter, he becomes a shell of the man he once was to the point where his friends begin to fear him, his employers have no choice but to release him, and the locals all know of him His confused and paranoid thoughts leave the reader confused and paranoid as well, all the while hoping that things will eventually get better for our hapless hero Ever the survivor, Chris takes matters into his own hands, standing up to the triads’ games, facing his problem and fighting to take control back We are left cheering on our tormented protagonist as he stands on the ledge of death or survival, eagerly praying he makes the right choice This is a great, fastpaced and engaging read where one will laugh, cry and shiver with fear right along with Mr Thrall all the way through. Decent story about an exmilitary gweilo who comes to Hong Kong, falls into some rough times in Wanchai and gets hooked on crystal meth while working as a bar bouncer If you've ever spent time as a foreigner in the Pearl of the Orient, you'll be able to relate to a lot of what Chris is describing here The rough and tumble, gottamakemoneyordietrying nature of Hong Kong, the greasy expats that spend way too much time in dirty bars hitting on local girls and Filipinas, the way so many downontheirluck folks get hooked on drugs in this city because the nightlife scene can be so fast and heavy at times It's all described in good detail here, and even though Chris is sometimes overly verbose (and certainly in need of an editor) he does have a knack for slapping together a vivid picture of the Fragrant Harbor's underbelly My main beef with this book, however, is how it was marketed There's a blurb on the cover that this is the story of one man's descent into drug psychosis in Hong Kong's triad heartland, and the back summary makes a big deal of how Chris was always in danger, working closely with numerous members of the 14K triad Unfortunately, what's presented in the novel is a lot less glamorous Chris does work at a bar which seems to be triadowned, but he doesn't really interact with these dudes much and most of the time he's actually stuck in the midst of a methcreated paranoia, IMAGINING that the triads are out to get him The entire last half of the book actually becomesandincoherent as Chris spirals out of control and can't separate fact from fiction, and while this is a pretty nifty literary trick (and would make for a cool psychedelic movie), Eating Smoke's advertising and opening chapter makes it seem like the author was fighting for his life on the mean HK streets, taking down triad assassins who wanted to kill his expat ass and living a life truly teetering on the edge In realityno, he was just high all the time, and kind of lost his marbles for a while before finally packing up and moving back to the UK Is this a decent tale of morality and what can happen to one poor fella on drugs? Yep A gripping work of crime fiction in Hong Kong's triad heartland? Ehhhnot so much. Chris Thrall Should be Chris Thrill A Brilliant book Once I started it I couldn't put it down It has exemplary pacing, is completely engaging and The tone he writes in is honest, sometimes sad, and sometimes humoursous, and it has a wealth of winning detail Chris uses such verve, enthusiasm and faultless comic timing that it is hard not to be swept along Sometimes when a person comes close to death, they find their soul Chris Thrall shows us his in what is bound to be a best seller.An inspirational read. Chris Thrall’s “Eating Smoke” is a fascinating, beautifully written account of a British Royal Marine’s descent into methamphetamine addiction Thrall is adept at description the hustle and bustle of the city of Hong Kong, and the dope fiends and harddrinking expats he hung out with come alive as the story unfolds Chris is so likeable and funny that readers will find themselves spinning out with him, but clinging desperately to the hope that he will get his head straight The author has captured the turmoil and paranoia of crank addiction, accurately depicting the inner workings of an active addict’s mind in downward spiral, no surprise considering he not only has experienced it personally but is himself an addiction professional I hold four professional certifications in addiction treatment, and have worked as a program counselor with homeless veterans in San Francisco “Eating Smoke” contains glimpses of the military mindset, the courage, resilience, and discipline I witnessed in so many of my clients who emerged victorious from the struggle with addiction I’m not a veteran of the military, but I am a veteran of crystal meth addiction and homelessness, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I can say that in describing drug psychosis, Chris Thrall got the crazy shit right! I had a lot of fun reading the British pop culture references along the way, and I got a big kick out of trying to translate some of the Brit street slang I noticed that dope fiend references are apparently universal, something that, as a recovering addict, I personally found oddly endearing Marti MacGibbon, author of “Never Give in to Fear: Laughing All the Way Up from Rock Bottom Completely gripping read about the transition between reality and a drug induced psychosis Told with humour and honesty you can't help feeling sympathy with Chris and the path he took in Hong Kong in Clubland Its a brave thing to be so honest about making some bad choices and skill to allow you to experience that shift in reality to the mental breakdown caused by crystal meth It was actually really informative too about the Hong Kong psyche and complex social rules that govern the triads. An hallucinating journey fantastically written! Congratulations Chris, on your talent, and your courage! I rarely preorder books due to an incident a while ago involving a dodgy publisherBUTI preordered this book and I couldn't wait for it to be delivered to my Kindle.I've heard how Meth destroys peoples lives and I tend to enjoy reading about real life, gangs, the underworld and so forthSooooo, when I was browsingone day I stumbled onto this book and was highly intrigued about the title Eating Smoke.Sometimes it's hard to believe what people do during their life and how they survived certain life eventsThis was really no different! I was hooked by the writers style of writing, the truth behind it, the down right grittiness of it, the OMG moments and a few other things I don't wish to spoil for others.Chris thought he could make his millions in China leaving a life behind in the militaryHis life quickly span out of control when he was introduced to some little crystals aka Meth He basically lived a life of getting fired from job to job because of his meth addiction Nothing lasted very long in his life, relationships often failed, friendships died off and then the paranoia from all the meth started to play a big part in his life Things really took a turn for the worst when the voices entered his head among other things.The thing that stuck out in my head the most was the condensed milk and fruit bread because it's what he craved after coming off a meth highTalk about sugar rush to diabetes I also loved reading the Chinese through out the book and the translations next to itI know very little about Hong Kong and the language they speak but this was a small eye openerEven if much of it was full of delusions.Very glad I preordered this novel! Review from Andrew CarterI read Eating Smoke when I was living in Hong Kong so it had that added interest for me At the time it was doing the rounds among my friends and colleagues and I'd only heard good things so picked up a copy.I finished it over a weekend Chris Thrall writes with such clever pacing and wit that you are immediately drawn in.The start of the book is interesting in itself; a twenty something marine starting a new chapter in his life by moving to Hong Kong in the mid nineties There are some amusing accounts of his relationship with the locals (he writes in the Chinese accent particularly accurately! ''Kwissa!'') and there are some very funny depictions of the loopholes in expatriate employment in Hong Kong, as Chris finds work, with a burgerflipper cum project manager.As the title suggests, we know that things do not all go smoothly in this memoir Getting into crystal methamphetamine is of course, a pretty serious thing to happen, but the way Chris writes about it shows that despite the stigma attached to the drug, circumstances can unfold where normal (ish!) people can find themselves involved and quickly going down a slippery slope Having lived in Wan Chai, I can say from first hand that Chris' representation of it's bars, clubs and alleyways is second to none and if you haven't been to Hong Kong, he paints a very accurate picture of it for you!Whilst drugs are a major theme of the book, the adventures that Chris finds himself in as a parallel are fascinating and incredibly varied! Working with the Triads, teaching English, DJing in a superclub in China and much ! It's an incredibly unpredictable memoir, which despite it's dark subject matter and dangerous situations, will only be a paragraph away from making you laugh at any time.He writes with such wit and honesty that you really feel part of the story and as Eating Smoke develops and his mental health deteriorates, you begin to wonder how much is in Chris' head and how much is actually happening It becomes a rather unsettling blurring of lines but nonetheless, incredibly absorbing and you will find yourself flying through this book in no time at all.This is the best book I have read set in Hong Kong and I would recommend it to anyone who lives there or has been there Actually, scrap that, I would recommend it to anyone! A great read.