John Burdett’s book is a very exotic thriller. Burdett begins Bangkok Eight with a murder. Unlike routine thrillers this murder isn’t crude and obvious. This murder is exquisite in its sophistication.
Bangkok Eight hasn’t anything like the Anglo-Saxon thriller genre. Nothing will prepare you for the storyline. Yes there’s a detective: Sonchai Jitpleecheep. He’s a Buddhist and is incorruptible in one of the most corrupt countries in the world. His mother is brothel keeper who was a prostitute and he lives in a hovel. He’s bi-racial, fluent in English and French and rejects western values. Not exactly Rebus, Morse or Reacher then.
Bangkok Eight follows the familiar narrative arc of thrillers. There’s a murder, a very complex investigation into an extensive crime network and a triumphant denouement. But the exotic nature of Bangkok and the multilayered investigation is an exciting read. The fascination levels never drop.
Why you should read this book: It’s a familiar genre done beautifully in an exotic setting.
Why you shouldn’t read this book: It might tell you more than you want to know about the Thai sex trade.