Sonchai Jitpleecheep is summoned to the most shocking and intriguing crime scene of his career. Solving the murder could mean a promotion, but Sonchai is more interested in Tietsin, an exiled Tibetan lama based in Kathmandu who has become his guru. Sonchai is put to the extreme test - as a cop, as a Buddhist, as an impossibly earthbound man.
©2009 John Burdett (P)2010 WF Howes Ltd
Retired Australian family lawyer, living about 50/50 in Sydney Australia and Chiang Mai, Thailand. I speak Thai at lower intermediate level.
John Burdett's creative juices must be drying up or he needs to move on. Bangkok 8 was great. Bangkok Tattoo and Bangkok Haunts were very good but the weird sci-fi mysticism themes a little contrived.
The Godfather of Kathmandu relies on The Godfather and The Silence of the Lambs movies to provide the background storylines with a little help from the Golden Book on the History of South East Asian Opiates Trading and Buddhism for Dummies. The moralising in the last chapter was overdone - get off the pulpit John and let the readers make up their own minds.
But worst of all was the narrator. Songhai Jitpleecheep, the half American half Thai Buddhist Bangkok detective, a great character, with a James Bond accent - give us a break. Stephen Hogan did not even bother to get the pronunciation of Thai words and phrases correct. Luk kreung (Thai: ลูกครึ่ง), literally "child half", a colloquial reference in the Thai language to a person who is of mixed Thai and European origins bore no similarity to the correct pronunciation. Tom Yum Goong and Krung Thep (the Thai word for Bangkok) both got different versions at different spots. And there were other glaring errors. But worst of all, farang, (ฝรั่ง) the generic Thai word for a Westerner and to whom the story is narrated was constantly pronounced far- rang instead of the correct far-rung. Did not Burdett even speak to Hogan. Also Burdett certainly does not have the depth of understanding of Thai culture like fellow Thai authors in the same genre such as Christopher Moore and Dean Barrett.
Time for Sonchai to retire I think. Three stars because I love the characters.
"Burdett's writing grips me from 1st page til last"
Listen to John Burdetts series. I cant recommend them enough. This might be its weakest along with Bangkok Tattoo but still a wonderful read. Im addicted to the series and have listened to them all twice over and will again and again. Loved it
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