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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertains the reader with a quirky cast of characters, March 7 2012
This review is from: Slash and Burn: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos (Hardcover)
With "Slash and Burn," the eighth book in his Dr. Siri series, Cotterill entertains the reader with a quirky cast of characters most of which who have appeared in his previous books. From a clairvoyant transvestite to a journalist from Time Magazine and a drunken retired general, the story has humorous dialogue with off-the-wall situations thrown into the mystery.

In 1968, helicopter pilot Boyd Bowry went down with his aircraft in a fiery crash. A search party was unable to find the wreckage or any survivors of the crash so the occupants were listed as MIA and the search called off.

Ten years later, a U.S. delegation has decided to pick up the search through the Lao jungles for remains of Bowry. The infamous Dr. Siri Paiboun, a seventy-four year old national coroner, is recruited by the Ministry of Justice to head the search. Dr. Siri is due to retire shortly but reluctantly agrees on one more job to the dismay of his wife Daeng. Selecting his team after turning down the one suggested by his boss Judge Haeng, Siri joins the U.S. party in the search.

At the Friendship hotel, a run-down place where the teams are sequestered, one of the team is found dead in a compromising way. Due to the "slash and burn" process used to rejuvenate the forest, the team is grounded and unable to transport the body to the coroner leaving Dr. Siri and U.S. pathologist Dr. Yamaguchi to perform the autopsy at the hotel. Soon accidents begin to happen and bodies begin to pile up as Siri and his team uncover a conspiracy to cover up elicit activities by people in high places.

Colin Cotterill teacher, writer, and cartoonist continues to draw his readers into the escapades of Dr. Siri and hoping "Slash and Burn" won't be the last of the series.

Reviewed by Jodi Ann Hanson for Suspense Magazine
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5.0 out of 5 stars `It was true, just five weeks before, things had been normal.', Feb. 2 2012
By 
Jennifer Cameron-Smith "Expect the Unexpected" (ACT, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Slash and Burn: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos (Hardcover)
It's 1978 and Dr Siri Paiboun, the national coroner of Laos, is now 74 years old, and his retirement is less than two months away. But then a note from his boss, Judge Haeng summons him to the Ministry of Justice, and one last job.

`Trust me - nothing can go wrong this time.'

Dr Siri is to accompany a joint Lao- American team into a remote area of Laos to examine what might the remains of a downed US airman and his helicopter missing since August 1968. It's a five day mission and Dr Siri's presence has been requested by the Americans. Dr Siri negotiates, and agrees to accompany the mission provided that he is accompanied by his wife Madame Daeng, his mortuary staff Nurse Dtui and Mr Gueng, and his friends Phosy and Civilai. Readers familiar with the series (this is the eighth book) will recognise each of these characters.

`But the nice thing about facts is that you can toss them in here and there merely to win arguments. It doesn't matter if they're accurate.'

Dr Siri quickly realises that nothing is really as it seems. The reader has some clues about the possible complexity of the mission based on the prologue (from the point of view of Boyd Bowry, the missing pilot) and some mysterious events in the Philippines. American politicians have their own reasons for searching, and while the Lao politicians are cooperating for political reasons, they are most definitely not speaking the same language. And when a member of the expedition is found dead at the Friendship Hotel, Dr Siri is determined to uncover the truth. Auntie Bpoo, the clairvoyant transvestite, is also part of the expedition and has foretold Dr Siri's death. Will it be on this expedition? Will it be before Dr Siri finishes this case?

`This is another fine mess you've gotten us into, Dr Siri.'

Madame Haeng's cooking skills come in very handy, and Mr Gueng becomes a bona fide hero. And throughout the story Judge Haeng reminds us of the multiple attributes of a good communist:

`A good communist does not shake his comrade by the hand and stab him in the back at the same time.'

`A good communist is like a tree. He stands firm but knows how to bend in a strong wind. He is fertile but gladly gives up his nuts to less fortunate creatures.'

I enjoyed this novel: will be the last in this series? I'm looking forward to the second book in Mr Cotterill's new series (featuring Jimm Juree) (`Grandad, There's a Head on the Beach') is due to be published shortly.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Slash and Burn: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos
Slash and Burn: A Dr. Siri Mystery Set in Laos by Colin Cotterill (Hardcover - Dec 6 2011)
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