Bangkok 8 packs enough punch to hit many types of literary taste receptors. It is foremost a hot mystery thriller, which begins with two Thai policemen trailing an American marine to his death by drug-crazed snake bites in a bolted-shut car. Having lost his partner, Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is on a mission to find the perpetrators and avenge his soul brother's death. Sonchai's devout Buddhist beliefs takes the story to another dimension, as his reflective meditations bring intuition into crime-solving, balanced with reason and technology supplied by the FBI, represented by the sleek blond Special Agent Jones. Even though he is probably the only cop not on the take, as the half-farang son of a former prostitute and long gone American serviceman he is a credible and amusing guide to this lush, exotic locale and its under-culture of drugs, sex, and other illicit trades. Finally, it is a deeply meditative social commentary on the West by realistically presenting Sonchai's and indeed all of Thailand's on-the-ground modus operandi as not necessarily an inferior but different way of going about life, written in vivid and accessible language. So dig in.
This book is FANTASTIC! Very different from usual thrillers and keeps you on edge until the end. Thailand background with protagonist as Buddhist policeman with lots of info on Thailand prostitution and jade trade make it very UNIQUE.
Interesting twist on the hard-boiled mystery drama. This is set in Bangkok, the narrator is a Thai detective searching for the killer of an American Marine and avenging the death of his partner. There's also a bit of drug trading, transgenderism and prostitution thrown in to the mix just to keep things more interesting...
At first I didn't think I would like this book, but I ended up really enjoying it. The contrasts between the East and West and their ways of doing things is intriguing. And Soncai, the main character is caught between the two worlds with great insight into each of them.
Fascinating. I felt like I was visiting Thailand and getting an insider's view of life as a cop, Buddhist (Thai flavor, prostitute, foreigners.... it was full of interesting plots and people. I went on to read the next two books which I enjoyed as well.
I REALLY liked this book, action packed, a Buddhist policeman in BKK working out the dichotomy of being of mixed parentage, and of working for a conniving and clever supervisor while maintaining his Buddhist convictions. Glimpsed into the steamier side of police work in a big city and of Thailand in particular. A great read. This is the first in a series and I am very impatient for the next ones.
This book blew me away to say the least. I read a lot, and can clearly declare that Burdett is on the top of my list. I got all the sequels and loved them as well. Great characters, action, and settings are fed to the reader in the smoothest way. I love this guy's writing.
Fascinating look at a culture I have never known much about. Enjoyed the book immensely and have read book #2 and recently swapped for #3. Really got into Sonchai and his Buddhist outlook. What a gentle soul! It was amazing how he compartmentalized his life. As much as I am enjoying the books, I do not want to go to Bangkok!
Above-average detective yarn with an exotic background, shocking crime, Buddhist detective, and more twists than a plate of Pad Thai. I don't think Burdett always played fair with the reader, but it was an interesting read anyway. His commentary on the sex industry in Thailand was especially interesting. (RE-POSTING. Book had been removed from listing due to computer problems.)