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Publisher's Summary

A thriller with attitude to spare, Bangkok 8 is a sexy, razor-edged, often darkly hilarious novel set in one of the world’s most exotic cities.

Witnessed by a throng of gaping spectators, a charismatic Marine sergeant is murdered under a Bangkok bridge inside a bolted-shut Mercedes Benz. Among the witnesses are the only two cops in the city not on the take, but within moments one is murdered and his partner, Sonchai Jitpleecheep - a devout Buddhist and the son of a Thai bar girl and a long-gone Vietnam War G.I. - is hell-bent on wreaking revenge. 

On a vigilante mission to capture his partner’s murderer, Sonchai is begrudgingly paired with a beautiful FBI agent named Jones and captures her heart in the process. In a city fueled by illicit drugs and infinite corruption, prostitution and priceless art, Sonchai’s quest for vengeance takes him into a world much more sinister than he could have ever imagined. 

©2003 John Burdett (P)2011 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A tour de force.... Burdett is purely and simply a wonderful writer.” (The Washington Post)

"A stiletto-sharp mystery/thriller... brilliantly rendered." (The Seattle Times-Post Intelligencer)

“Like Thai cuisine, Burdett’s comic thriller blends spicy, sour, salty and sweet - and makes for a delicious wake-up for jaded palates.” (People)

"Bangkok 8 is one of the most startling and provocative mysteries that I've read in years. The characters are marvelously unique, the setting is intoxicating and the plot unwinds in dark illusory strands, reminiscent of Gorky Park. Once I started, I didn't want to put it down." (Carl Hiaasen)

“The wildest ride in modern crime novel exoticum. A novel so steeped in milieu that it feels as if you’ve blasted to mars in the grip of a demon who won’t let you go. Read this book, savor the language - it’s the last and the most compelling word in thrillers.” (James Ellroy) 

What listeners say about Bangkok 8

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Audible needs to allow half stars, for books like this

Ok, overall, a good book. I bought the next in series. Great performance. My biggest complaint is the preachiness & "moralizing", although not in the way you will assume without reading the whole book. Not a western preachiness/moral majority/family values type of dogma. More of the opposite. But the problem is there is still hypocrisy in the author's moralizing. and it sometimes got in the way of my enjoyment of the book. I prefer Timothy Halinan's more honest perspectives on the good and negative of both cultures. Still, I am definitely going to stick with the series if the following books are as interesting!

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating, Informative & Unique!

Definitely not your classic "whodunnit"... but wow is this one of the most unique books I have ever read/listened to! You must keep an open mind to enjoy this book haha, I found it VERY interesting. A think outside-of-the-box mystery with lots of historical and philosophical tidbits. Thoroughly enjoyed!

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Learn About Krung Thep

Liked the discussion of drugs traffic sex corruption Buddhist mindset in Thailand. Police procedural story also fine. Sorry to say there are not enough travel chances these days to visit exotic places, but books can give a helpful introduction. Thankfully the book is well-researched so learning curve was positive. Similar to Wind-Up Girl. Dark but not too dark.

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Great story, but mediocre narration

The story is great! I just don’t love the reader. He’s a little too straight and narrow for me. There’s not as much acting as I like, more of a straight read.

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Same, same but different

While agreeing with some of the other reviewers, Thai words and inflection are hard, having been to Bangkok, and other parts of Thailand, many times, I cringed at some of the pronunciations. Listen to the story dont get caught up in the "that cant happen" moments or pronunciations. Because in Thailand, it happens. All too often. The story itself is why I'm listening and it holds my attention. If you've been there more than once you can smell it at times and you'll know where Sonchai is once in a while. If you were lost and confused, well you might just understand why after listening to it. The story is told well and really does keep you wanting more. The characters are believable because it is Thailand. The tidbits are spot on with regard to the people and culture, both Thai and Farang. If you thought it was far fetched, you've never been. You cant explain most of S.E. Asia to someone whose never been there. Its a magical, corrupt, beautiful and hard to comprehend place. Bangkok 8 is much the same. The series is worth sticking with to the end. It gets better. Afterward, you'll need to find Poke Rafferty.

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Fascinating Introduction into Thai Culture

Burdett's characters, particularly the protagonist, a bastard half Thai half WASP, raised by a savvy whore and her various clients provides a wonderful intersection of East meets West in a murder mystery that like Thai Culture has layers to peel a way at before arriving to a core realization about the West and East and their cultural assumptions. A novel that definitely entertain and educates about modern society deeply rooted with its ancient past yet approaches modern challenges with a Buddhist pragmatism that will baffle Westerners who have not read this book.

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Outstanding.

Great novel. Great characters, including the main character, a Buddhist detective. Easy to get lost in. There is some violence and there’s a lot of sex, but it’s all in the service of the gripping story.

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as Twisted as a hangman's knot

Perfect combination of mystery and Asian philosophy. My first read by this author, and I might not choose to do another for awhile for fear of it being repetitious, but this was a delightful surprise.

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Buddha as a modern man

Would you listen to Bangkok 8 again? Why?

yes, there were a lot of details I probably missed the first time around because I was focused on the plot line.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Our hero, because he was conflicted. We got to see his thought process as a buddhist apprentice .

What about Paul Boehmer’s performance did you like?

Good. He added color to the story that was good At some times , though, it was hard to distinguish between characters, like between our hero and his boss.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

it became clear , how intricate the web of corruption can get. Even "honest " people get caught up in it

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  • M
  • 08-09-16

Tales from Thamkrabok?

This book is a great story but it's not so much a work of fiction. Having lived in BKK for many years. This story is all to true and repeats itself regularly. I left BKK in 2555 (2012) and this is still very much the way of the kingdom, the land of fake smiles and deep feeling Jai Dee locals doing what they must. I myself loved the book but had a hard times with some of my own memories that this book kicked up! The author gets it spot on and then some.