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Bangkok 8: A Royal Thai Detective Novel (1) Paperback – Jul 13 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 13 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400032903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400032907
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #148,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 24 2010
Format: Paperback
Book 1 in Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep series

This is a police story that stands above many mysteries I have read lately. Although at first glace it seems to rehash the basics found in other books, it was a pleasant surprise to find otherwise.

The story revolves around a police detective investigating a murder that claimed his partner's life and which the main suspect is a well-connected US businessman. Bangkok is the location; it is described as an exotic city where sex is sold on the street and where the police are seen more as businessman making money from crimes committed in their district and providing protection to keep order and peace.

The story opens with Sonchai and his partner Pichai on the trail of Bill Bradley an American marine stationed at the US embassy. They eventually found him trapped in his car with deadly snakes. In trying to get to him Pichai is bitten and dies. Partnerless and still in shock, Sonchai learns more about Bradley's shady dealings from an FBI legal attaché. It is soon evident Washington wants things hushed, not a problem for Sonchai...Different country, different rules ...when the guilty party is found; he will be eliminated... problem solved...

Sonchai is joined by FBI Kimberley Jones and the name of Sylvester Warren, a huge player in the jade market and a powerful man in Washington soon becomes the center of their investigation. The investigators soon realise they are on their own, Washington and the Thai police have cut them adrift.... What the detectives will face on the streets of Bangkok will be surprising to the reader......very interesting...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barry Welles on June 28 2005
Format: Paperback
Having been struggling with unreadable and nearly unreadable books, I was beginning to wonder whether the problem was what I was reading or my patience and attention span. John Burdett's pulsating Bangkok 8 is 318 pages long. Devouring it reassured me that I can be grabbed and held by a book.
The "8" of the title refers to a police precinct. The book's narrator Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep and his partner Pichai Apiradee are the only detectives in the City of Angels (the meaning of the Thai name for the capital city, Krung Thep) who do not take bribes. Both are protégés of a Buddhist abbott whose brother is Col. Vikorn, the immensely rich commander of precinct 8's police force.
Col. Vikorn has assigned Sonchai and Pichai to follow William Bradley, a strikingly handsome and very large black U. S. Marine sergeant. The policeman lose him in traffic and then real disaster strikes. There is a killing of diabolical refinement that required considerable organization. "Whodunit?" is a question of interest to Sonchai and there are an array of powers (official and criminal, Thai and American, and very interconnected) seeking to prevent one answer to that question. Plus, there are the more interesting questions of how the killing was organized and why the particular and elaborate method was developed for executing a novice and minor player in the (also interconnected) businesses of jade mining, art fraud, drug-smuggling, Khmer Rouge thuggery, and payoffs of Thai officials.
Sonchai is the son of a bar-girl (prostitute) and a US serviceman who was on R&R from the Vietnam war and, as a child, accompanied his mother on her extended romances in France, German, and the United States.
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Format: Paperback
I loved the first 280 pages of this book. But then the most preposterous denouement is tacked on; that left me, like some other reviewers here, scratching my head.

But again... the first 280 pages were worth the price of admission alone. Viva Sonchai
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By A Customer on March 26 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great book! - stunning plot idea, fascinating prinicpal characters and locale, incredibly well researched, very well written, enough sociological insight to please a university professor, and plot turns that kept me guessing right to the end. If five percent of the thrillers I read were this good, I'd become a buddhist myself like Detective Sonchai. A must read for control freaks!!
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By A Customer on July 14 2004
Format: Hardcover
I wanted to love this book, but I could recommend 1,000 mysteries/thrillers that are more fun and better written. The Bangkok sex industry is exotic, and the main character might be unusual. But I never believed that he existed because every other character was pasted together with cardboard and cliche: the incorruptible female FBI agent, the psychotic sadist, the corrupt Thai cop. Every character seems to have super powers -- the agent can get endless information, the sadist had endless connections to the US government and gangsters, another character has convinced ruthless Khmer to be enlessly loyal. No one seems motived by normal life like loyalty, fear, greed, etc. In the end, nothing happens on stage. It's just a book where people talk about things that have happened (and where the hero figures things out by just walking up to people who spill the entire truth for no apparent reason). That is boring. In the end, I decided that Burdett spent 90% of his time thinking about cool concepts that he could use to pitch the movie script -- and no time actually putting together a book. Go read Elmore Leonard instead.
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