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Sunday, 9 December 2012

John Burdett - Bangkok 8

review by showhost dec 2012 Ro Bennett passed this book to me to read after she reviewed it on the show. I don't always share Ro's love of some authors so I was not sure if I would like it. But I enjoyed this book, well the first half! I enjoyed reading about the Thai culture & beliefs (it reminded me of our holiday in Phuket in Thailand). It starts with a wow! when an ex USA marine is found dead in a car full of snakes on an off road track in Bangkok. This discovery causes the death of the main characters soul brother and police partner. the main character, Sonchai, is a fair skinned Thai (USA father unknown to him) & a devout Buddhist vows to avenge the death of his soul brother. Sonchai and his deceased partner were the only 2 cops in Bangkok city not on the 'take'. His search for the perpetrator takes him deep into the Bangkok underworld where dealings in Jade, Ya-ba (drugs), sex and in fact anything that makes money, are big business . The police make good money out of these lucrative ventures, some of which involve USA senators and wealthy business men. It's an interesting story and the setting of Bangkok is very real, temples, Buddhist monks, rent boys & girls, beggars and gangsters all mingle as one. My criticism is that I felt at times it lost me with too much padding, unnecessary info, especially towards the end. I had to go back over some paragraphs as I couldn't retain the info or remember who's name belonged to who (in fact at the beginning of this review I had to look up the name of the main character - unusual for me!). So a kind of book of 2 halves. Not sure what the ending was about either. I think he could have made it a third shorter and still kept the story. But I really enjoyed the setting and mix of cultures.

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