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Slash and Burn (Dr. Siri Paiboun #8)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,446 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
Dr. Siri might finally be allowed to retire (again). Although he loves his two morgue assistants, he’s tired of being Laos’s national coroner, a job he never wanted in the first place. Plus, he’s pushing eighty, and wants to spend some time with his wife before his untimely death (which has been predicted by the local transvestite fortune teller).

But retirement is not in t
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Soho Crime (first published 2011)
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Readers meeting Dr. Siri and his cohorts for the first time in this eighth in the Siri series might very well wonder what they had stumbled into. Farce, cross-dressing, and the supernatural are not characteristics we instinctively think of when reviewing our knowledge of communist Laos, but Cotterill shows us that Laos has it all. A world more remote from everyday American life would be hard to find, but Cotterill manages to make a seventy-plus-year-old government coroner the best guide to Lao l ...more
John Brooke
Apr 05, 2014 John Brooke rated it it was amazing
This is another funny and informative Dr. Siri mystery from Colin Cotterill. It is not the latest (published 2011). But it fits seamlessly in the series, albeit with references to prior episodes, but these in no way hinder your understanding of the story at hand.

Laos, 1978, the ongoing aftermath of the Viet Nam war. The victorious Communist regime continues to struggle with a workable civic and social structure. Forget about “prosperity” or even basic amenities for most citizens beyond the elite
Feb 17, 2012 Tuck rated it really liked it
The last?! Dr. Siri paiboun book about the lone state coroner of laos, and his crew of competent cutups investigating a possible MIA in the tribal NE part of the country in 1978. the usual mayhem ensues and dr. siri’s ghosts and spirits help him out of a bad bad jam. Fun mysteries, good plots, sardonic and funny characters, and lots of good info about SE asia and laos in particular during the 1970’s (just after usa dropped millions and millions of bombs on them in a “secret” campaign, [thanks tr ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
In this latest adventure of the ever-entertaining Dr. Siri Paiboun, national coroner of Laos, the good doctor is "chosen" by the party leaders to accompany his nemesis Judge Haeng as members of a multi-national team going to a remote site in Thailand to find out what actually happened when the son of a US Senator crashed his helo in this unknown village. There are varying versions of how the aviator came to be in the area where his helicopter crashed, and how the chopper wreckage was discovered. ...more
Anirban Das
Dec 12, 2014 Anirban Das rated it it was amazing
“A good communist is like a tree. He stands firm but knows how to bend in a strong wind. He is fertile but gladly gives up his nuts to less fortunate creatures”

Slash and Burn, the eighth installment of the Dr.Siri mysteries, starts off when an American delegation led by Major Potter visits Laos, starting a joint operation to search for an American helicopter pilot who was lost during the war. Although presumed dead, a photograph delivered to the pilot’s dad, an American senator showed that he wa
Dec 31, 2011 Spuddie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Siri Paiboun mystery set in 1970's Laos. Dr. Siri really wants to retire from his post as the national coroner of Laos. He's only just recovered from near-death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge and since he's over seventy, he figures he deserves to spend a few years relaxing with his wife. But he gets roped into one last job on a junket to northern Laos looking for the remains of a missing American pilot.

Accompanying Siri--at his insistence, via a little blackmail of Judge Haeng, his nemesis-
Mar 24, 2014 Yeva rated it it was amazing
Slash and Burn was a total departure from the norm in this series. It reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel, but of course with Mr. Cotterill's own little twist. Dr. Siri and company were in full detective mode with this one, and the action happened at a little hotel high in the hills, the Friendship Hotel. Of course, it was shrouded in smoke and the helicopters couldn't leave which left our merry group stranded with a bunch of Americans and a murder. This book was great fun. I enjoyed the pol ...more
Georgiann Hennelly
Sep 24, 2012 Georgiann Hennelly rated it it was amazing
This is the first Dr Siri book i have read. Slash and Burn is set in 1978 and relations between Laos and the U.S. are still tense. Siri is ordered to assist a group of Americans who are searching for the remains of a helicopter pilot whose helicopter went down during the war. Mishaps are numerous and things begin to go terribly wrong. Cotterill uses quite a few Americanisms mixed in with Laotians dialogue in places it was laugh out loud funny. The question is will they find what they are looking ...more
Aug 10, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone, library
I am mean with the stars - actually I really liked it. He tosses loads of characters in the air and mixes them around and I didn't get confused at all. I read that an Australian company was closing down a Laos gold mine in 2014 and it sounds like it was spite because the Lao government had realised it was making virtually nothing from the mining concession and wanted a decent cut! So 30 years after the book is set the 'Western Powers' are still extracting wealth from the country..... no surprise ...more
Edwin Battistella
In Slash and Burn, the septuagenarian coroner Dr. Siri is pressured by his long-time rival Judge Heng to aid in the possible recovery of a long-missing US helicopter pilot, who happens to be the son of a wealthy US senator. The story becomes an Agatha Christie type story –everyone is a suspect and they all end up in a room together—but one set in the jungles of Laos and resolve with some local magic and herbalism. Dr. Siri and his team are a fine ensemble and Cotterill provides plenty of red her ...more
P.D.R. Lindsay
Apr 12, 2013 P.D.R. Lindsay rated it it was amazing

There’s been a trend for some years to set murder mysteries in exotic locations. Indeed there’s one Crime Small Press which only publishes crime novels if the action takes place in somewhere like the Sahara or Mongolia and the main characters are indigenous too. Certainly there has been a flood of grim serial killer/FBI crime novels, police procedural novels and spunky female P.I. novels, perhaps readers needed a change. Alas, what happened was that a whole range of poorly researched, set in Tim
After the misadventures our admired hero, the Laotian against-his-will-coroner Dr Siri had to suffer in the book Love Songs from a Shallow Grave (Dr Siri Paiboun Mystery 7) he surely deserves an all-expenses-paid holiday trip to the northern mountains of Laos.
The more as he is literally counting the hours and minutes to leave his undesired working place for the long merited retirement.
But - what is a holiday without Your nearest and dearest?
In the end, with a little help from a close friend name
Cathy Cole
Jan 07, 2012 Cathy Cole rated it really liked it
First Line: You know? Being shut up in a cage with a live bear was a piece of cake compared to being drunk and high in charge of a half-a-million dollars' worth of flying metal.

Dr. Siri Paiboun, the National Coroner of Laos, is getting up close and personal to the age of eighty. He's announced his retirement, and he's counting down the days until he no longer has to deal with his incompetent superiors. You know what happens when you begin that countdown, don't you? Sure enough, Dr. Siri is place
The 74-year-old Dr. Siri has been trying to retire for years, but his country, 1978 Laos after the Pathet Lao revolution, just won't let him go. Now, though, it seems as if he might actually be able to achieve his long-held dream of retirement to spend his final years relaxing with his new wife and famous noodle shop owner, Madame Daeng. He shouldn't be counting the days, however, because his country has just one last assignment for him.

In 1968, there was a helicopter crash somewhere in the nort
First Sentence: You know?

Dr. Siri, the nearly 80 year old corner of Laos, wants to retire and spend some time with his wife before he dies; a death predicted by the local transvestite fortuneteller. Yet it agrees to one last job. Ten years earlier, during the Vietnam War, a US fighter pilot went down in the jungle. A search party of Americans and Laotian scientists and high-level politicians set out to find the pilots remains. They don’t expect to be trapped in a remote cabin due to smoke. Even
Jul 16, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, asian, ebook
The Dr Siri series has probably got to the stage where new readers will have that odd feeling - you know the one - when you walk into a theme party with no idea what the theme is. Or who most of the people at the bar are....

For fans of the series, there's absolutely nothing unexpected about SLASH AND BURN. It's perfectly understandable that Dr Siri, along with his wife, his nurse and his morgue attendant would all end up somewhere up country looking for a MIA American helicopter pilot. It's no
Samy Rose
Oct 26, 2012 Samy Rose rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone liking mysteries in foreign lands with humor in them
Recommended to Samy by: a list on the internet years ago
This is the latest of the Dr. Siri books. It came out in 2011 and tells of happenings from the 1980s. Laos is still becoming a country, and the Americans want a joint Lao-American team to search the jungle for a MIA pilot. The Americans demand that Dr. Siri, the country's only coroner, be on the Lao team. This team is already chosen (cronyism) but the fact that the Americans demand Siri gives him the power to re-choose the team. Now it includes his wife, his nurse and her husband, his 2 friends ...more
Jan 28, 2012 J.R. rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Dr. Siri Paiboun, the reluctant coroner, is attempting once more to retire when he’s recruited for a national mission in the summer of 1978.

A joint Laotian-American delegation is headed into a remote jungle area to search for signs of a U.S. Marine helicopter pilot who had gone missing in 1968 in an unauthorized flight (officially designated a humanitarian aid mission). The pilot happens to be the son of a prominent American senator and Siri subsequently learns several witnesses claimed the Mari
Craig Pittman
May 17, 2016 Craig Pittman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written and highly enjoyable mystery full of darkly cynical humor and a strong sense of American and Southeast Asian history. I took a point off because the climax, while amusing, seems highly improbable.

The hero is the elderly Laotian coroner Dr. Siri, who is nearing retirement but gets dragged into what he believes is one last case: investigating the downing of an American helicopter during the Vietnam War and whether the pilot survived. He's part of a large expedition of both Laotian
Mark Stevens
Jan 25, 2012 Mark Stevens rated it really liked it
The “mystery” genre is a wide-open, anything-goes canvas. A few pages into “Slash and Burn” or any of the Cotterill stories and you’ll realize you’re into a whole new realm with all new rules. Our “hero” is Dr. Siri Paiboun, a Loatian coroner who is pushing 80 years old. He’s feisty and irascible about just about everything and that gives him the everyman quality that’s easy to latch onto. Dr. Siri is free to think or say anything—and he does.

“Slash and Burn” is light and breezy. There is a dol
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
MIA Missing in Action

Wieder einmal besuchte ich Dr. Siri im Laos der 70er Jahre. Nach seinem letzten schwierigen Fall hat Dr. Siri eigentlich die Rente beantragt und nun schlägt er die Zeit tot bis er dieselbe endlich für sich selbst und seine Frau hat. Da hätte er den Zettel am besten einfach zerrissen. Aber Dr. Sire tut sich doch schwer mit dem nein-sagen, da ist seine Neugier einfach zu groß. Und so landet er bei seinem Chef im Büro mit einer ganzen Horde amerikanischer Offizieller, die er ni
Jul 07, 2016 Olivermagnus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016, asia, romance
This story opens in 1968 when Boyd Bowry, son of a U.S. senator, is presumed dead after the helicopter he was flying exploded over a remote village in the northern mountains of Laos. Flash forward ten years where septuagenarian, Doctor Siri Paiboun, the country's only coroner, has been tasked with forming a delegation to meet with some Americans who are interested in finding out what happened to Boyd and to see if they can recover any remains. Dr. Siri decides it's the perfect time to gather his ...more
Rhonda Pickens
Oct 05, 2015 Rhonda Pickens rated it it was amazing
This series gets better and better with each book. Colin Cotterill has found his muse in 72 year old Dr. Siri Paiboun and the 1000 year old shaman whose spirit resides within him! Once I started reading, I couldn't stop! Not much else has happened around my house in the last ten days as every waking moment has been dedicated to these books. I knew I should slow down because otherwise I would get to the last one and feel that sense of loss, waiting for the next one to be published, but I couldn't ...more
I have now found a new favourite crime writer! Colin Cotterill's Dr. Siri Paibuon series are a good combination of comedy and mystery that I really enjoy.
Jan 18, 2016 Booknblues rated it liked it
I have to say that reading a Dr. Siri mystery by Colin Cotterill is great fun. Dr. Siri is an aging coroner in Laos who comes accompanied by a group of entertaining co-workers and has a number of ghosts who tag along and haunt him.

Slash and Burn is my first read of his and I really got quite a kick out of it. It is set in 1978 and the relations between the US and Laos is still tense. Siri is ordered to assist a group of Americans who are searching for the body of a helicopter pilot whose helicop
Feb 13, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it
Though the eighth book in the Dr. Siri series, this was my first venture into Laos of the 1970s alongside the coroner, his noodle shop proprietor wife and the cast of characters hovering around the jungles of southeast Asia in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It is 1978 and before he can retire, Dr. Siri Paiboun is pulled into one more case, that of a Missing in Action pilot, who disappeared on a flight ten years earlier. Once the 74-year old who runs the nation's only morgue is able to convinc ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Just so you know, this is not the volume to read first, because the ensemble cast is firmly in place. And they all go off to the mountains to find out what became of an American airman and his ill-fated helicopter, in company with a large-ish group of American officials and politicians. Chaos ensues, of course, and is immensely readable.

I picked this up for yet another sleepless night, and devoured it between 4 and 8 AM. Dear old Siri, sweet little Geung, beloved Dtui and charming (but deadly)
Gloria Feit
Apr 27, 2012 Gloria Feit rated it really liked it
Dr. Siri is two months away from finally retiring as the national coroner of Laos in 1978 when he is reluctantly engaged in a joint U.S./Laotian mission in a remote northern jungle in which an American helicopter had crashed ten years earlier. It appears the pilot was the son of a U.S. Senator, and there are various subtexts to the operation. The wily 80-year-old doctor outfoxes his superiors substituting his wife and friends on the task force as a last paid vacation before leaving his job.

Of co
David Ketelsen
Jun 13, 2012 David Ketelsen rated it liked it
I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads

For the most part I really enjoyed reading this book. Colin Cotterill is a writer with unusual skills. His lead character, Dr. Siri Paiboun, a coroner/pathologist in '70s Communist Laos, is well sketched and very believable. This is the 8th book in the series and while not the best it's still quite good.

Dr Paiboun is still trying to retire--and at 74 and seriously injured from adventures in book 7, his boss finally relents and asks for Siri to
Mar 29, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
In spite of the title, this story is not so intense and has a great deal more humor than its predecessor (Love Songs from a Shallow Grave). After his ordeal in Cambodia, Dr. Siri is finally being allowed to retire from his job as Laos’ national (and only) coroner. However, he is sent for one last mission off in the jungle to find the remains of an American pilot. He contrives to replace most of the Laotian politicians appointed to the search party with his own familiar friends and family and the ...more
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Colin Cotterill was born in London and trained as a teacher and set off on a world tour that didn't ever come to an end. He worked as a Physical Education instructor in Israel, a primary school teacher in Australia, a counselor for educationally handicapped adults in the US, and a university lecturer in Japan. But the greater part of his latter years has been spent in Southeast Asia. Colin has tau ...more
More about Colin Cotterill...

Other Books in the Series

Dr. Siri Paiboun (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Coroner's Lunch (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #1)
  • Thirty-Three Teeth (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #2)
  • Disco For The Departed (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #3)
  • Anarchy and Old Dogs (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #4)
  • Curse of the Pogo Stick (Dr. Siri Paiboun #5)
  • The Merry Misogynist (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #6)
  • Love Songs from a Shallow Grave (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #7)
  • The Woman Who Wouldn't Die (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #9)
  • Six and a Half Deadly Sins (Dr. Siri Paiboun #10)
  • I Shot the Buddha

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“A good communist,” the man had said, “does not let go of the plough halfway across the paddy and leave the buffalo to find its own direction. He eats with her, tends to her injuries, and sleeps with her until the job is done.” Siri had resisted the temptation to spread the word that the Party was advocating bestiality.” 1 likes
“Old man,” she said. “Don’t you want to prepare or something?”
“Prepare what?”
“Yourself. For death.”
Siri laughed.
“Well, Bpoo. Let’s see. If the Buddhists are right, I’m just on my way to the next incarnation. Unless there’s a manual for how to behave correctly as a gnat I’m not sure how I’d prepare for that. If the Catholics are right, nothing short of an asbestos suit and a glass of iced water will help where I’m going. And if the communists are right, you do your best and when you’re gone they put up a statue in your honor and the locals dry their laundry on it. So, if I’m going, you’re the heir to today’s legacy.”
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