Saturday I was in the car all day and didn’t read a word. But Friday I had managed to read the first 22 pages of Death on Diamond Mountain by Scott Carney. My wife read the book last week and recommended it to me. The book centers on the 2012 death of 38-year-old Ian Thomson, an American Buddhist.
What little I have read has been quite good. Carney grabs the reader right from the start. In the Author’s Note, Carney discusses the suicide of an American woman who’d taken an overseas trip that Carney had led. The trip exposed young people to Buddhism and – under the influence of Buddhist teachings – the woman jumped from a rooftop. Carney states that the woman’s death sparked his interest in Thomson.
The pace doesn’t slack when Carney segues into the Prologue. The story takes the reader to an Arizona cave where Thorson’s wife Christie McNally tries to decide whether to call for help in saving Ian. The pace slackens a bit in Chapters 1 and 2. In Chapter 1 Carney goes into a discussion of western “applications” of Buddhism, and how we prefer an “a-la-carte” approach in which we select what we like and discard the rest. Chapter 2 describes Ian’s background; as I closed the book, he was a student at Stanford University in the 1990s.