Two cops - the only two in the city not on the take - arrive too late. Minutes later, only one is alive: Sonchai Jitpleecheep - a devout Buddhist, equally versed in the sacred and the profane - son of a long-gone Vietnam War G.I. and a Thai bar girl whose subsequent international clientele contributed richly to Sonchai's sophistication.
Now, his partner dead, Sonchai is doubly compelled to find the murderer, to maneuver through the world he knows all to well - illicit drugs, prostitution, infinite corruption - and into a realm he has never before encountered: the moneyed underbelly of the city, where desire rules and the human body is no less custom-designable than a raw hunk of jade. And where Sonchai tracks the killer - and a predator of an even more sinister variety.
Thick with the authentic - and hallucinogenic - atmosphere of Bangkok, crowded with astonishing characters, uniquely smart and skeptical, literary and wildly readable, Bangkok 8 is one of a kind.
©2003 John Burdett; 2003 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"An intriguing, fresh take on noir." (Publishers Weekly)
"A stunning thriller! Bangkok 8 is suspense at its best: a masterfully written tale set in a world that's perfectly evoked and populated with compelling, flesh-and-blood characters." (Jeffery Deaver, author of The Vanished Man)
John Burdett presents an engrossing cast of characters in an intriguing city. The plot is somewhat outlandish, and the conclusion quite a bit less than satisfying, but these weaknesses are offset both by the excellent reading by B.D. Wong and the insights into the police force, racial influences, philosophy and sexual attitudes of modern Thailand.
The reader is excellent, really creating a compelling atmosphere for the story. The characters are well-developed, the plot a bit outlandish, but interesting, however...it's abridged. I found the gaps in the story to be very apparent. Having read "Bangkok Tattoo" I was aware of this author's voice, and it was extremely obvious that there were gaps, large gaps, in the pace and flow of the story. I would be enjoying the book on my commute, and then WHAM! there would be glitch in story flow, tossing me out of that engrossing world and back to reality. I will never buy an abridged copy of anything again.
Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the protagonist detective in Burdett's Bangkok novels, is the son of a prostitute mother and someone. He's funny, sexy, smart and politically savvy with an ironic edge to his Buddhist side (yup). Burdett has four Bangkok books out now and I'm looking forward to the next three. This one is a great starter to see if they're for you.
This was a deilghtful book, I appreciated the fact that the author has clearly taken the time to steep himself in Thai culture and ways. The pace is perfect for driving or sitting on a plane. His latest book is also very good.
I am not usually a fan of murder mysteries but this story is gripping on many levels. The author shows us both an ancient and modern Thailand, full of designer drugs, buddhist temples and strange happenings. A unique and thought-provoking story.
I've never given Thailand much thought but at the end of this book I found myself interested in visiting Bangkok. Enjoyed the narrater very much. Only wish it had been unabridged.
I found this book entirely enjoyable, in part because I know nothing about Thailand and found the cultural musings of the protagonist fascinating (especially in comparison with the western characters), and in part because of the virtuosity of its narrator, B.D. Wong. Wong not only reads with astute, perceptive inflection, but he also manages to carry off a variety of voices and accents without ever going over the top or sounding like he's trying to hard. At times, I was skeptical as to whether it was really the same person, particularly when he did the voice of a large, gregarious African-American character juxtaposed with a female Thai seductress. I'd listen to anything read by him--or by Campbell Scott, but that's another review. Highly recommended.
I was unaware that this was the abridged version, so I feel I missed out on much of the daily life details and customs that elevate this series from mere whodunit to cultural history. Never listen to an abridged novel.
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