The Solitary Man Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Solitary Man

Set in Thailand, this story shows all the seedy side of the underbelly of this country in relation to its prisons, drug lords, and to what lengths a man will go for a friend. Chris Hutchison, known as Hutch, is imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit and cleverly escapes from numerous prisons in Britain. Under a false identity, he creates a new life in Hong Kong, complete with an upmarket kennel business, forming new bonds with people who have no idea of his previous life.
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An old friend Billy Winter, involved in the drug trade, discovers where he is and puts a proposition to him that he cannot refuse. Either help break out a man named Ray Harrigan from a Bangkok prison, or face the prospect of going back to prison himself.

Hutch has to face his fears about going back into the confines of a prison in order to execute the plan and becomes victim to a twisted scam perpetrated by his friend. He is arrested for carrying heroin at the Bangkok Airport as planned, but what he was told would be talcum powder, is in fact the real thing.

Upon his arrest, a British journalist and an officer of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Carver, sit up and take notice of the fact that he won't show his face and resists all offers of help, even from Chau-ling an employee of his. They find this behavior at odds to the normal reaction of arrested drug couriers and set out for their own individual agendas to discover why.   

Chau-ling, his employee of Chinese American descent, is also shocked at his arrest and perplexed at his refusal of help. She has only stayed working for Hutch because of her feelings for him, and he is totally unaware that this is the case.

Winter relies on a vicious drug lord, Zhou, to help the escapees get out of the country once they have broken out of prison. Set up in the mountainous jungle backwater of Thailand, Zhou continuously changes his locations to avoid detection from the authorities. As far as Winter is concerned, Zhou is the perfect man with the right connections to get them new passports and the necessary transport to escape across the border.

In a twist of fate and betrayal, Hutch becomes the carrier of a location beacon for the DEA's bombs into Zhou's lair. The story unravels in a chase through the inhospitable jungle by Carver and Chau-ling to rescue Hutch in time before the bombs are unleashed on Zhou's stronghold. Hutch by now, does not know whom to trust, having been betrayed by both Winter and Carver. Carver had given him no alternative but to carry the beacon in light of the fact that he was a wanted escapee from Britain.   

Chau-ling and Carver attempt to catch up to Hutch through the jungle to warn him not to set the beacon off, and are captured by Zhou's thugs. He is still unaware that they will be caught in the deathly onslaught as he had been promised that he would have time to get away from the camp. It is only after he has set the locator off, that Chau-ling tells him that the bombs will destroy the whole camp and he was not meant to survive.

The ending is an amazing story telling feat of heroics and loyalty as the bombs fall around them.
Best part of story, including ending: I loved its fast pace, the twist and turns of the plot and the fact that it was based in Thailand.

Best scene in story: The prison escape chapter was my favorite because it was hard to imagine how they would pull it off.

Opinion about the main character: The main character, Hutch, I actually liked because of his sense of loyalty despite the fact that everyone wanted a piece of him.

The review of this Book prepared by Gail Palethorpe a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Solitary Man

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   escape/deal with prison General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   drug dealers

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   accused criminal Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Southeast Asia

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture Unusual forms of death    -   impaled Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   little dialog

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Stephen Leather Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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