This book introduces Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep and the extraordinary milieu in which he operates. I had previously read Bangkok Haunts which is..Show More » one of the sequels, so I knew what to expect. The book is at once sleazy, refreshing, intrigueing and edgy, and is a major departure from the conventional cop thriller. It is definitely a good listen, and the narration by Glen McCready is first class. It would have garnered 4 stars, but lost a star when the author lapsed into explanation mode for much of its second half.
Bangkok Tattoo is probably the most compelling book I've encountered in the nearly three years I've been an Audible listener. It is a great many cont..Show More »radictory things: violent, compassionate, graphic, delicate, sexual, sensual, spiritual, surreal, earthy, funny at times, horrible at others, extremely well written and well read. The character development is superb, and the portrait of Bangkok is fascinating. It's an incredible read. Audible offers Burdett's Bangkok 8 (the first of this series) only in an abridged version, so I bought a hardcopy so that I could experience every word. I was not disappointed.
I'm not sure where the other reviewers are coming from. Perhaps it's a matter of morality. Burdett makes no judgments. Bangkok is presented "as is," as are the characters. Prostitutes, corrupt police officials, transexuals, madams, American tourists, most of whom are men who come to Bangkok specifically for sexual purposes--all of these are presented, not sympathetically, but as human beings rather than as caricatures.
I cannot recommend this book too highly, and I urge Audible to find an unabridged version of Bangkok 8 for us, as well. BTW, although Bangkok 8 is a precursor to this book, it is not necessary to have read it first. There are a few things you will not know, but each book stands on its own--a moving experience that will haunt you long after you've finished it.
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 moun..Show More »tain 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!).
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 t..Show More »he 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.
I agree with reviewers who complain the plotting isn't as tight as previous installments. However, this is more than made up for by the usual fascina..Show More »ting glimpses into foreign cultures, religions and ways of life Burdett brings so brilliantly to the page. Well worth the journey. Also, the narrator is top notch.