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Thursday, 11 October 2012

John Burdett - Bangkok Eight

review live on bookshow 11th October 2012, by Ro Bennett Having read the Carl Hiaasen book Lucky You which I reviewed last time, I decided to read a book by John Burdett who was suggested as a similar author. This is another book I have thoroughly enjoyed, so another series of books I can look forward to reading, so I am delighted. Here is a summary: When a US Marine is killed in Bangkok, the task of finding the murderer falls to Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep. Sonchai is the son of a Thai bar girl and an unknown American father but seemingly the only member of the Royal Thai Police Force whose idea of justice excludes the habitual bribe-taking practised by his fellow officers including his boss. This assignment is especially important to the devout detective because during the investigation of the murder scene where a marine was killed, the cobra snakes which bit him are stoked up with methamphetamine and also kill Sonchai's police partner, best friend and Buddhist soul-mate Pichai. The death of the marine brings with it the involvement of the U.S embassy, and Kimberley Jones, a female FBI agent comes over to liaise with Sonchai. His investigation takes Sonchai into the bars and brothels and to drug and jade smuggling rings run by ruthless and dangerous men. It’s an informative book for the reader, covering seedy aspects of Thailand - from its sex industry to the shocking poverty, wholesale corruption, traffic chaos, pollution and the widespread trade in yaa baa (which is methamphetamine), to intriguing facts about jade. The author, John Patrick Burdett was born July 24, 1951. He’s British and was formerly a lawyer. He lived and worked in Hong Kong for twelve years but eventually he decided to abandon law and pursue a career as a detective novelist. Burdett now splits his time between France and Bangkok and continues to research his novels in various locations in Thailand, so this is obviously why the book is so full of interesting local knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It has everything a lovable hero, humour, suspense, pathos, with a great insight into Thai culture and I like his writing style. I will certainly read the sequels.

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