Sunday, December 15, 2013
Bangkok Haunts by John Burdett
I loved Bangkok Haunts. I'd read his previous novel, Bangkok Tatto and now must read his first Bangkok Eight. Thai Buddhist detective, Sonchai Jitpleecheap, is so original and such a delight. His mother is a madame in their bar, which he runs part time, while she manages the girls for the older 50 and 60 regular western clientele who like a bit of Elvis with their 60's rock and roll. Meanwhile at his main job he works with a partner, a 'katoey', holding off the full change so he can keep his detective job. His superior, Colonel Vikorn is consumed with making money, his role in the police force, only serving to bring him opportunities. Sonchai's Buddhist sensibilities come in conflict with Vikorn's capitalism who he nonetheless admires. Meanwhile, an FBI woman is brought in to help with a snuff film involving a Thai ghost. The intuitive ways of Sonchai with his supernatural tendencies run parallel to the FBI, smitten by his partner, pragmatic approach to detecting. East meets west and even more telling is the Khyber connection as the case takes them into Cambodia where AK 47's are a constant. What a wonderful read, remarkable plot and extraordinary characterization. John Burdett, Englishman, ex lawyer, is a great author in this difficult to add to genre.