Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Bangkok Haunts", by John Burdett

Book 3 in the Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep series

This series brings a totally different perspective into the art of writing murder mysteries. It not only combines wit and humour, it also exposes us to a world choreographed by deviant players. The tale is told from Detective Sonchai Jitpleechhep's point of view as he guides us through Bangkok's dark side.

This fast-paced and captivating story has Sonchai and FBI agent Kimberley Jones reviewing a DVD that has surfaced from an anonymous source. It is a snuff movie featuring Damrong, Sonchai's ex-lover and high-class prostitute at "The Old Men's Club". Damrong was a crafty and cunning beauty who skilfully used her assets to obtain money and favours from her high profile clientele, leaving in her wake a string of men, some heartbroken and bitter.

Deep into the investigation, Sonchai, his (transsexual) assistant Lek and the FBI realize there is big money in this type of movie and this undoubtedly attracts corrupt and sometimes influential people. When Colonel Vokorn, the opportunistic and shrewd superior of Sonchai, learns of the details he sees his chance to supplement his personal wealth leaving Sonchai caught between his conscience and his boss's wishes.....

The intensity of the story is magnified with an erotic ghost story. Sonchai not only works the case by day but he is haunted by the ghost of Damrong who visits him in so real erotic dreams by night. Ghosts, reincarnation and superstition is a wide spread belief, part of the Thai culture and an important facet of the story and Sonchai's psyche. The supernatural vibe that emanates from Bangkok is witness through Sonchai's exploits in a narration that is entertaining, straightforward and streamlined.

The storyline has an abundance of humour and it particularly shines when Sonchai possessed by the ghost of Damrong needs help to erase her hold on him. The final act brings him to Isaan and Cambodia where he will learn unnerving details about her life and learn to deal with her death..... This novel has great characterization, heavy on passion, lust and sex that are treated in an exciting but tasteful manner.

"Bangkok Haunts" is on many levels a far more mesmerizing and tantalizing novel than the previous. I enjoyed this one much more than the last and I am looking forward to the sequel.

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