The Trial of Maximo Bonga

The Story of the Strangest Guesthouse in South East Asia

  • Imprint: Summersdale
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Price: £8.99
  • Publication date: 11 June 2015
  • ISBN: 9781849537230

About the book

There was someone standing further along the beach, facing out to sea. An old man dressed in… I blinked… battle fatigues? Second World War U.S. by the looks of the helmet. I looked on for a moment, squinting into the sun-streaked coconut smoke.
‘You won’t like Bonga’s Guest House, I can tell you now. Maximo Bonga…’
said the fisherman’s wife. She was lost for words, shaking her head.
‘Maximum Bongo?’ I asked.‘Bonga,’ she said. ‘It means flamboyant.’
Based on a true story
On one of South East Asia’s most remote beaches, a young woman’s body is found. The corrupt local police think they have found the perfect fall guy in Maximo Bonga – cantankerous World War Two veteran and owner of the weirdest guesthouse in town.
But unbeknownst to them, an unlikely friendship has been forged between Maximo and John, one of the boarders of Maximo’s guest-house-cum-boot-camp, where an old machine gun and camouflaged mantraps stand guard, sandbags form fences and a tyrannical pet rooster terrorises the guests. Along with an eccentric bunch of modern-world rejects, John sets out to defend the old soldier in a kangaroo court set up at the local cockpit, in a paradise like no other.

About the author

John Harris grew up on a council estate in south-east London and now wanders the world. He's worked as a scuba diver in Thailand, a fruit picker in Australia, a private detective in China, a building instructor in Nigeria and a site manager in Dubai.


'Harris writes a worthy who-dun-it thriller about friendship and one man’s quest for justice... Harris does achieve to seamlessly meld his own experience with the fabricated to create a page-turning novel that makes the perfect easy-going holiday read'

Emma Russell - Time Out, Hong Kong

‘Great read. Very enjoyable. Feels like a proper story that took me on a journey.’

Jamie Goold, film and documentary maker