- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Corgi Books; New edition edition (2 Aug. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552771406
- ISBN-13: 978-0552771405
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,300,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bangkok 8 Paperback – 2 Aug 2004
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More About the Author
When a US Marine is killed in Bangkok, the task of finding the murderer falls to Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, seemingly the only member of the Royal Thai Police Force whose idea of justice excludes the habitual bribe-taking practised by his fellow officers. This assignment is especially important to the devout detective because during the investigation of the murder scene, the methamphetamine-stoked snakes that bit the marine also kill Sonchai's police partner, best friend and Buddhist soul-mate Pichai. Sonchai's pursuit of revenge will team him with a sexually frustrated FBI agent and leave them at the mercy of yaa-baa-fuelled motorcycle-taxi drivers as they hurtle through neon-lit Bangkok and into the labyrinthine and deadly machinations of the international jade and drug trades in search of the killer.
At one point Sonchai asks: "This isn't a whodunit, is it?" The answer is no, but John Burdett (also author of A Personal History of Thirst and The Last Six Million Seconds) infuses the plot with enough suspense, detail and dry Asian insight to keep readers rapt as the story careens about the bars and brothels of Thailand, taking in its flesh trade and cut-rate plastic surgery parlours and ending in a climax with a fittingly Buddhist twist. Bangkok 8 is highly recommended for readers in the mood for Thai. --Benjamin Reese, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"'Cracking East-meets-West thriller introducing a half-Thai, half-American cop whose Buddhist beliefs are as important as his forensic skills. Terrific'" (Observer)
"'A stunning thriller! Bangkok 8 is suspense at its best: a masterfully written tale set in a world that's perfectly evoked and populated with compelling, flesh and blood characters'" (Jeffery Deaver)
"'Bangkok 8 is one of the most startling and provocative mysteries that I've read in years. The characters are marvellously unique, the setting is intoxication and the plot unwinds in dark illusory strands, reminiscent of Gorky Park. Once I started, I didn't put it down'" (Carl Hiassen)
"'Read this book, savor the language - it's the last and the most compelling word in thrillers'" (James Ellroy)
"'John Burdett infuses the plot with enough suspense, detail and dry Asian insight to keep readers rapt as the story careens about the bars and brothels of Thailand, taking in its flesh trade and cut-rate plastic surgery parlours and ending in a climax with a fittingly Buddhist twist. Bangkok 8 is highly recommended'" (amazon.co.uk) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Murder, prostitution, drug trafficking and revenge are, perhaps, something of a staple for the genre, but here we have Buddhism and the karmic quest added to the cocktail of human complexity.
The moral tightrope detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep walks to preserve his already tarnished karma is as page turning as the plot itself: both are as many layered, complex and humane as the depiction of the city and its people.
Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is the son of a Thai retired prostitute and a white man, whose identity his mother won't divulge. Sonchai and Pichai, his partner, best friend and soul-mate, have been assigned to follow a U.S. Marine sergeant. In tailing the sergeant, they lose him for a bit, but then see his car. When they arrive, they see the sergeant, his head half engulfed by a python and being bitten by cobras. In trying to rescue him, Pichai is bitten and killed. Sonchai swears death to the killer.
This was a fascinating book. It has wonderful imagery and humor. I loved the injections of Buddhist philosophy, particularly the attitude toward death. Reincarnation is an accepted fact of being, made even more interesting by Sonchai's ability to see other's past lives. But best is that the author provides a real look at Thai life and culture, not just that as seen by tourists. .
The story is told from Sonchai's point of view and it really is as much, if not more, his story than a traditional police procedural. Not only is Sonchai set apart from those around him because of being of mixed blood, but because, in a country where corruption is accepted, he is arhat (meritorious) and doesn't accept bribes or sleep with women.
I found the story a little hard to follow at times, but at no time was I tempted to stop. I found the ending completely appropriate to the story.
Still, there's lots to recommend the book. This is a thriller with many shades of gray to delight in. For example, on the one hand, Sonchai is an arhat (kind of a Bhuddist living saint), the one clean cop in the district, and yet he's clear that the only justice he intends to bring his partner's killer to is that found in the barrel of his gun. Similarly, his boss is totally corrupt, but Sonchai respects and reveres him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
really enjoyed this book, very informative regarding thai culture. at times I felt there was so much i couldn't take it in, but it was always relevant to the plot and was actually... Read morePublished 19 days ago by abby
Bought for a fan of the Jack Reacher series; the Philip Marlowe series & generally anything Harlan Coben, Elmore Leonard or David Baldacci put their names to.Published 7 months ago by Ben
Captivating from the frightening first few paragraphs; even if you have visited or worked in Thailand, '8' takes you deep into strange, even appalling behaviour patterns and... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Peter Milner
Enjoyed the plot and the insight into Thailand's culture, corruption and sex business ... I am working my through the whole series now . Read morePublished 11 months ago by Damon
Very good insite into Bangkok life, Buddhism and the culture clash between the east and west, coupled with a good crime novel.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Well researched and interesting at times but I frequently found that this book failed to hold my attention for long. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jason Nevin