©2007 John Burdett; (P)2007 Recorded Books
"Superb....Burdett has created a haunting, powerful story that transcends genre." (Publishers Weekly)
Lehua of Pacifica
This writer was a wonderful discovery for me. In terms of both the story and the characters, "original" hardly says enough. Warning: there's a mountain of graphic sex, and plenty of truly obscene violence. It's all part of the picture, but it might be too much for some. I found parts of it hard to read, though worth the discomfort. The humor is maybe the best part -- weird but hilarious. I'm torn whether this is a 4 or a 5 only because the writer is still a bit amateurish. He makes grammatical errors and non-compute phrases (like tears coming out of the retina), has some mild plot holes (why would having sex be blackmailable?) and falls in love with some words and overuses them ("frisson," for example). But in tribute to a fabulous story, I'll leave it a 5.
The reader is a good actor but is wrong for the part. He's the ultimate occidental/Anglo-Saxon. Also, he sounds smug and pompous rather than practical and self-effacing as the protagonist is written. All his statements are lobbed at you like pronouncements. And though he seems to have studied how to pronounce words like Supatra and Chanya, he didn't bother with others, like Nippon, or sake (sacky! ugh! yuck!).
This book is not at all as described. Having visited Bangkok, I thought that it would be interesting to have that as a setting for a detective story. Wrong! The book was sordid, gruesome, and totally devoid of listening pleasure. I stopped about 30% through and I don't know why I even wasted 3 hours of my time, much less an Audible credit.
The book is absorbing, although you have to accept the spirit world as you read it. It is marred by an exceptionally long and boring "Epilogue", devoted to justification of the porn industry.
I really enjoyed this book and was compelled to continue to (listen) to more and more; effectively a page turner. The mystery was well paced and developed and the setting (Thailand) was very interesting, with cultural references. This murder mystery kept me going and at the end when the threads fell together it was gratifying... that is until the "climactic scene" at the end (I won't spoil) that completely too far and destroys the suspension of disbelief.
Other than that scene, it was a very entertaining ride.
Very good. Cultural diverse murder mystery. Comical at times this is not a light read.
I liked it. This is a very unusual book. It takes topics classically "taboo", and then integrates the erotic, murder-mystery, spiritual, and religious into a fascinating tale. Lots of history, and background of the Southeast Asian people, Bangkok, Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia, their totally unconventional culture, language and norms. It's an engrosing saga; kept me tuned in to the end. (Although I do agree with the other comment on the unnecessary epilogue which didn't fit with the literary level of the work).
Not sure if the problem is with the book or the narration. I was not grabbed by the book and the story and was continually wondering when's something going to happen.
I was very disappointed in this book and decided to stop about half way through as I really didn't care what was going to happen.
I gave two stars as it wasn't a total waste of time. It gave some theories on the attraction to prostitution and porn that were, at least, intreging.
I couldn't listen to this book for more than 5 minutes. I wish I could get my money back. I found this book so offensive I couldn't believe I could have ordered something like this without being better informed. I didn't expect such a vulgar book from the review.
My first experience of John Burdett and his Bangkok books - fabulous!! You can almost smell and feel Thailand and what a great twist on the American detective that breaks the rules - the Thai cop who is NOT corrupt. All the characters are unforgettable. Simply spell-binding, narration is delicious! Looking for other books read by McCready and already ordered the first two Bangkok books - highly recommend this exotic murder mystery.
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