Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

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The 150-word Review: In Thailand, I am known as a luk kreung (half-American, half-Thai).  During my first visit to Bangkok, walking the streets in awestruck wonderment, I was filled with conflicting emotions.  On one hand it assaulted my senses with an otherworldly foreignness; on the other, I felt a reassuring sense that I was home.  This mix of feelings returned when I read Bangkok 8, a crime novel that revels in all of Bangkok’s chaotic contradictions.

Sonchai Jitpleecheep and his best friend are detectives with the Royal Thai Police and devout Buddhists – the only Thai cops who can’t be bought.  When the shocking murder of an American Marine also claims his “soul brother” partner, Sonchai vows to avenge his death.  Bangkok 8 is a classic Noir-thriller set among the vibrant hues of Bangkok, skipping along from Armani-filled shopping malls to palatial riverside estates to hyperkinetic sex-on-parade red light districts with exhilarating energy.

You will enjoy this book if you are a fan of: spiritually insightful Sam Spades, unconventional “femme” fatales, entrepreneurial police Colonels, cultural anthropology, methephedrine-frenzied cobras, chilies for breakfast, jade phalluses, exploitative farang and exploited farang, Sukhumvit Road, Khaosan Road, and Soi Cowboy.

Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Actually Norm, Sonchai Jitpleecheep is also a luk kreung, the son of a Thai bar girl and an unknown American GI.

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