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Bangkok 8
John Burdett
Adult Fiction BURDETT

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Set in Thailand's capital in the mid-1990s, this ambitious first novel by Burdett (The Last Six Million Seconds) follows the city's only honest police detective, Sonchai Jitplecheep, as he searches for the person responsible for the deaths of his partner (a friend from childhood) and an American Marine sergeant. This thriller abounds with sensational elements-from homicidal vipers on speed to jade smuggling and the Thai sex trade-but listeners would be wise to follow the lead of Buddhist narrator Sonchai, who is more interested in the graceful acceptance of life's puzzles than in their resolution. The policeman's account of his harsh life and what he must do to serve both the Buddha and his teeming, decadent city enriches the novel, but those fond of neatly wrapped tales may find the surreal but shocking finale less than satisfying. The inspired casting of Wong, who's known for his roles in Madame Butterfly and Oz, more than makes up for this small flaw, however. Wong skillfully conveys the secret pain and self-doubt lurking beneath Sonchai's insouciant facade, while underlining the Eastern mood and the dark humor of Burdett's unique noir tale. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Pichai and Sonchai, Buddhist penitents and incorruptible anomalies among Thai police, are tailing an African American marine when they find him murdered in his Mercedes, killed by a mass of cobras and a giant python. When Pichai himself succumbs to a fatal bite, Amerasian detective Sonchai Jitplecheep sets out to avenge his death. Paired with a blonde FBI agent who provides sexual tension and acts as a Western foil for Sonchai's disarming mysticism, he follows strands of forensic and karmic evidence leading to a beguiling dark beauty, a high-powered jade dealer, Chinese businessmen, and Khmer Rouge thugs. In his second East-meets-West thriller (after The Last Six Million Seconds), Burdett evokes an intriguing and exotic Bangkok where hungry ghosts and capitalists throng the busy intersection of the eightfold path and the red-light district. The depiction of the occasional kinkiness and sadism of this world never seems gratuitous and is skillfully refracted through a highly original sleuth. The pace never flags, every page unfolding fresh mysteries of the psychological, cultural, metaphysical, and locked-room varieties. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/03.]-David Wright, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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