Wednesday, August 20, 2008

08.17 Bangkok Tattoo by John Burdett

Bangkok Tattoo (2006) by John Burdett
Paperback, Vintage, 320 p.

I'd read the first novel in this mystery series by John Burdett called Bangkok 8. This book continues the adventures of Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep of the Royal Thai Police. A farang–a foreigner–has been murdered, his body horribly mutilated, at the Bangkok brothel co-owned by Sonchai’s mother and his boss. The dead man was a CIA agent. To make matters worse, the apparent culprit is sweet-natured Chanya, the brothel’s top earner and a woman whom the devoutly Buddhist sleuth has loved for several lifetimes. It turns out the murdered man was posted down south to the border with Malaysia to keep an eye out for Muslim terrorist. That brings a team of CIA agents over to muddle up Sonchai's investigation.

I really enjoyed Bangkok 8 but I think this book is even better. I don't know if any of it is based on reality but I felt like I got a good sense of how things work in Bangkok - the sex industry, smuggling, gangsterism. All in all, a fun read and apparently he's writing more.

1 comment:

Olman Feelyus said...

Well that's good to know. Bangkok 8 could well have been a classic first novel where the rest aren't so good. It's a great milieu for a murder mystery and I love the viewpoint of the main character, he's kind of wry and hard-boiled like a traditional detective but with some wayout (to our judeo-christian mindsets) perspectives. Your line about him loving that woman for multiple lifetimes reminded me of that.