When a US Marine is killed in Bangkok, the task of finding the murderer falls to Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, seemingly the only member of the Royal Thai Police Force whose idea of justice excludes the habitual bribe-taking practised by his ...
fellow officers. This assignment is especially important to the devout detective because during the investigation of the murder scene, the methamphetamine-stoked snakes that bit the marine also kill Sonchai's police partner, best friend and Buddhist soul-mate Pichai. Sonchai's pursuit of revenge will team him with a sexually frustrated FBI agent and leave them at the mercy of yaa-baa-fuelled motorcycle-taxi drivers as they hurtle through neon-lit Bangkok and into the labyrinthine and deadly machinations of the international jade and drug trades in search of the killer.
At one point Sonchai asks: "This isn't a whodunit, is it?" The answer is no, but John Burdett (also author of A Personal History of Thirst and The Last Six Million Seconds) infuses the plot with enough suspense, detail and dry Asian insight to keep readers rapt as the story careens about the bars and brothels of Thailand, taking in its flesh trade and cut-rate plastic surgery parlours and ending in a climax with a fittingly Buddhist twist. Bangkok 8 is highly recommended for readers in the mood for Thai. --Benjamin Reese, Amazon.com