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When a U.S. 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 precludes his fellow officers' customary system of bribery. This assignment's especially important to the devout detective for 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-fueled 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.
As Sonchai himself notes at one point, "This isn't a whodunit, is it?" And, no, it isn't, but author John Burdett (A Personal History of Thirst, 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's flesh trade, through its cut-rate plastic surgery parlors, and ends in a climax with a fittingly Buddhist twist. Bangkok 8 is highly recommended for readers in the mood for Thai. --Benjamin Reese --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2008 by Jeffrey H. R. Hemlin
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... Read morePublished on March 25 2005
I thought the idea of this book was better than the actual read. I loved the idea of a "thriller" acted out in an exotic setting; but I found that the story was just... Read morePublished on June 30 2004
I picked this up when I saw that the blurbs on the back cover came from my two favorite crimes writers, Carl Hiaasen and James Ellroy. Read morePublished on April 13 2004 by Newton Munnow
Make no mistake: this is a genre book--a mystery. It does not transcend the genre, but it is among the best mysteries I have read. Read morePublished on March 6 2004
A black marine sergeant is sitting in the back seat of a Mercedes, dead from cobra bites, and his head in the mouth of a crazed python that is trying to swallow him whole. Read morePublished on March 5 2004 by JLind555
Sonchai Jitpleecheep is a cop in Bangkok. He is of mixed extraction- father was a GI in Vietnam and is now long gone. His mother was a bar girl. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004 by Larry