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4.1 out of 5 stars
Bangkok 8: A Royal Thai Detective Novel (1)
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on December 8, 2003
I read this book on the recommendation of a Russian writer Victor Pelevin, himself a Buddhist. Now, after finishing the book, I realize that if not for Sonchai, monk turned cop, this book will fall apart under the weight of bizarre tiresome convoluted plot, many unrealized characters, cliches, cultural truisms and propaganda like anti americanism. Sonchai, the Buddhist cop, endlessly self doubting romantic, vulnerable, and smart, saves this mediocre book.
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John Burdett's 3rd novel sets a detective story in contemporary Bangkok with a surprisingly seductive and engaging local protagonist, the Thai partner of a dead Bangkok cop who diet during a horrific dual killing with which the book opens. The most unusual aspect of the book, which is otherwise just a really good cop story, is the Buddhist spirituality of Sonchai Jitpleecheep (the detective). It adds a welcome 4th dimension. Good stuff here.
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on August 10, 2003
I just want to say two things (1) I had no problems with the end of the book, in fact I liked it.(2) Most mysteries I like take place in an unusual or historical setting, that way you not only get a mystery but you learn something as well. I knew little about Bangkok and was therefore intrigued by the concept. The author is a very good writer and this book deserves a wide audience, it is the best book I've read since The Da Vinci Code.
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This book has it all: a Buddhist detective who depends on his intuition to solve a ghastly murder; corrupt cops; the American FBI; lots of prostitutes; and, an on-the-ground look at a Third World City�s chaos. You�ll get a glimpse of Thai culture, a critique of the West and more than a few laughs. A well-plotted mystery that is hard to put down. I recommend it if you�re interested in foreign cultures and excellent writing.
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on March 6, 2004
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. I love mysteries that take place in other (than American) cultures and exhibit a real understanding of that culture. Having been to Thailand several times, Bangkok 8 fits that bill. It is enthralling: sex, murder, rebirth, Buddhism, corruption, drugs, gems, revenge.
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on March 25, 2005
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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on September 10, 2003
Bangkok is an overwhelming and exciting city. This book has that same overwhelming excitement to it. From the beginning when the lead character's partner is killed in a crazy way to the wild twists and turns of the end this book is a delight. What sets it apart from the usual procedural fare, however, is the characterization of the protagonist and the social commentary on Thai Prostitution.
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on October 18, 2003
This is a book I did not want to finish because I liked it so much. I simply didn't want it to end. Bangkok 8 was such a pleasant surprise to me that I am recommending it to everyone I know. Loved the characters and loved the plot, a little wayward at times but I was really pleased with this book. Maybe Burdett will continue with Sonchai's character in another book! Highly recommended!
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on September 4, 2003
I stared the book and as it was a long haul flight, I couldn't put it down.Having been to Bangkok I could well relate to the setting,the heat,the pollution and well,yes, the seedy areas. It was a thoroughly enjoyable novel until it gets to the end,where it seems to lose its' direction somehow and I finished the book saying "And.....?"
A great book and a promising author....
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on July 6, 2003
I enjoyed this book for about 200 pages then soured on it's endless anti usa theme. To blame all the worlds ills on the usa is just to simple and ignores the worlds complexities. This guy blasts the usa but will take our money for this book? What a joker. I buy a book for entertainment not moral lambasting..If I want that I go to church (which I never do).
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