A strong city, a weak cast,
This review is from: Bangkok 8: A Royal Thai Detective Novel (1) (Hardcover)
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. I suppose I was hoping for great things, either Hiaasen's light hand, or Ellroy's dark tales of intrigue. However, when a character takes a deep breath and delivers a one to three page sermon on, amongst other things, jade, prostitution or buddhist beliefs, you discover that you are not in the hands of an expert. It seems as if Burdett had almost too much that he wanted to impart to the reader and rather than work pieces skilfully into the plot, he opted for dense exposition. It is a shame, because Burdett can write well. Sochai Jitpleecheep comes across as a well developed character and would have held the book together had he not been surrounded by a paper thin supporting cast. Take your pick, the [attractive] FBI agent with a crush on our hero, the [prostitute] with a heart of gold, the evil millionaire sexual sadist. Most of Burdett's secondary characters are little more than B-movie types given the odd line of amusing dialogue. It's a shame, because Burdett does a fine job bringing the city and the culture to life. If only he had found the right characters to populate his streets.
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