author of the best seller Bangkok 8, a head-spinning new novel
that puts us back in the company of the inimitable Royal Thai Police
detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep.
We return to District 8the underbelly of Bangkok's underworldwhere a
dramatically mutilated dead body is found. It's bad: he was CIA. It gets
worse: the murderer appears to be Chanyaa tough, sweet working girl
who's the highest earner at The Old Man's Club, jointly owned by
Sonchai's mother and his boss, Police Colonel Vikorn.
Alerted by Sonchai, Vikorn quickly concocts a cover-up that involves Al
Qaeda and Thailand's porous southern border where, since 9/11, the CIA
has been an obviously covert presence. But the truth will be harder to
come by, and it will require Sonchai to find an ever-more-delicate
balance between his ambition and his Buddhism, while running the gamut
of Bangkok's drug dealers, prostitutes, bad cops, worse military, and
the pitfalls of his own melting heart (Chanya!)most of which he can
handle. But even Sonchai is not prepared for what he discovers at the
end of his investigation.
Piercingly smart and funny, densely atmospheric, andas we already know
to expect from John Burdettpacking a surprise at every turn, Bangkok
Tattoo is sensational.
The strength of the series comes not only from the setting but Burdett's chief protagonist - Sonchai, probably the only policeman in town who doesn't take bribes, is a Buddhist whose investigative methods include dream messages from a former (now dead) partner and glimpses into his suspects' lives. To understand Sonchai and the country he works in we have to recalibrate our moral compass and put away our Westernized belief that we can to a greater or lesser extent control fate and instead accept the more philosophical Buddhist outlook - a religion that brings new meaning to the expression "better luck next time". (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
The New York Times - Charles Taylor
Burdett's singular contribution to the contemporary mystery novel may be the way he breaks with the genre's judgmental puritanism when it comes to the sex trade.
The Washington Post - Michael Dirda
By turns sordid, disorienting and, at its heart, accepting and good-natured about our flawed human condition, Bangkok Tattoo is as seductive as Chanya, Nat, Marly, Lalita or any of the other girls at The Old Man's Club. And that's saying something. If you're looking for a good time, look no further.
The New Yorker
The plot showcases Burdett’s sly riffs on Third World stereotypes, Buddhism, and the gustatory pleasures of fried grasshoppers. It’s a giddy, occasionally over-the-top performance, but mesmerizing: a comic tour of the underbelly of Bangkok in pursuit of both a murderer and the sublime.
[A] brilliantly cynical mystery thriller.....His characters are unforgettable, his dialogue fast-paced and perfectly pitched, his numerous asides and observations generally as cutting as they are funny.
Booklist - Bill Ott
You've read a few Italian mysteries, and you think you know what moral ambiguity is all about. Time for a trip to District 8 in the heart of Bangkok's sex district...The plot is incredibly elaborate, but it doesn't faze Sonchai, who reacts to so many opposing ideas dancing madly on the head of the same pin with a kind of Buddhist calm.
At the age of 50 John Burdett gave up his life as a partner in a premier
law firm with a luxury apartment on "The Peak" in Hong Kong, sold his worldly
possessions and set out to try his hand at what he'd wanted to do all along -
write books. He is now about 55 and the author of four books including the
two Bangkok thrillers starring Sonchai Jitpleecheep. He was born in North
London, his father was a policeman, his mother a seamstress - and writing was
obviously in his blood from an early age - when he was about 8 his teacher asked
him to write a few sentences about himself, he responded with a
He read literature at the University of Warwick, on
graduating in 1973 he considered trying to make his living as a writer but took
a law degree instead. He started as a barrister* in London, and then moved
to Hong Kong where he worked as a government attorney, from there he
moved into private practice. He wrote his first two novels (A Personal
History of Thirst and The Last Six Million...
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