Journalist Richard Shears has covered stories from Yellowknife in Canada, to the conflicts in Iraq, but his latest novel, What Happens in Bali, explores the drugs, murder, and misadventure in the dark side of the island paradise

Bali is known as the ‘Island of Gods’ and, with more than four million tourists, both rich and budget-conscious, visiting Bali each year, it is inevitable that things will go wrong.

Drugs, surfing, murder, love, death on the roads, hangovers, bombs, and relaxation are all part of the cocktail of life in a land of looming volcanoes, hillside rice paddies, and idyllic beaches.

Shears’ stories shared in this novel include events that made headlines around the world, as well as events that were quietly played out behind a veil of tropical serenity.

Bali was the backdrop for two extraordinarily colourful weddings that ended in tears, the marriage of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall and the ceremony that saw an English model joined in matrimony to a Prince who never was.

There are the drug smugglers, such as the infamous Bali Nine, Schapelle Corby, the English grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, and the story of an American man who hit the convenience stores with a knife, and a Balinese wife who plotted the brutal murder of her British-Australian husband.

Then there are are the terrorists who killed more than 200 people in an infamous bombing and the shocking story of the ‘body in the suitcase’ murder, where a wealthy American socialite was brutally murdered by her daughter and her boyfriend.

What Happens in Bali, published by New Holland Publishers, is a tell-all, shedding light on this iconic holiday destination.

Richard Shears has previously been awarded a UK Press award for foreign reporting, and is also a known photographer. He has written more than 30 books that encompass fiction, true crime, and general non-fiction.

People who liked this story also liked The Florida Project.