First Sentence: The neon hammer and sickle buzzed and flickered into life over the night club of the Lan Xang Hotel.
Dr. Siri Paiboun, the 72-year-old coroner for Laos, is being kept busy by both the spirit and human world. An old black mountain bear has escaped its cage but is it responsible for the bodies who've been mauled? The burned bodies of two men have been found. Siri is summoned to the area of his birth in an effort to identify them.
A man working in the Department of archives jumped to his death from a room containing a chest bearing the Royal Seal. Siri, the re-embodiment of the 1050 shaman, Yeh Ming, recognizes the box is inhabited by powerful spirits and he must find the proper way of dealing with it.
It is 107 degrees in Vietiane, Laos where the standard greeting and response has become, 'Hot, isn't it.' 'Damned hot.' Employing excellent dialogue, wonderful humor and a unique voice, Cotterill has given me one of my new, favorite series.
In additional to being a very visual writer, he balances information about Laos in 1997, the paranormal, wonderful mystery and suspense; logic and humor.
His characters are delightful. I particularly appreciate that we learn more about the characters with this book. Siri reflects that 'Poverty lead him to religion, religion to education, education to lust, lust to communism. And communism had brought him back full circle to poverty. There was a Ph.D. dissertation waiting to be written about such a cycle.' He is a very spry 72, who is trying to deal with his inner shaman and finds out more about his childhood. He is smart, logical and very loyal to his friends. He, and we, also finds out more about Nurse Dtui. There is more to her than is originally known and she goes off on her own investigation.
What I love about reading Cotterill is that they are wonderful stories. His writing is so visual and the individual scenes are memorable in themselves. Put together, I find myself captivated by the combination of the characters and the plot. I never know where the story is going next but thoroughly enjoy every step of the journey.
THIRTY-THREE TEETH (Lic Inv/Para-Dr. Siri Paiboun, Laos-Cont/1977) ' VG+
Cotterill, Colin ' 2nd in series
Soho Crime, ©2005, US Paperback ' ISBN: 156947429X