Bangkok 8
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Bangkok 8 (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  5,505 ratings  ·  778 reviews
En el Bangkok surreal, la ciudad de los templos y los burdeles, donde los monjes budistas con sus ropajes de color azafrán pisan el mismo suelo que los gángsters más violentos, donde los cuerpos están en venta o en alquiler, y el lugar donde tu manera de morir puede ser más importante que tu manera de vivir, es el escenario insustituible de esta novela. En esta ciudad se d...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Urano Publishers (first published January 1st 2003)
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Amanda
Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is the son of a Bangkok prostitute (insert your own inappropriate joke regarding the juxtaposition of the words "Bangkok" and "prostitute" here) and a U. S. soldier. As a result, Sonchai is able to walk in both cultures, but belong to neither, and to understand the differences between the farang (a term used for foreigners) and the Thai mindset. He's also a devout Buddhist, which prevents him from taking part in the openly corrupt practices of the Thai police force...more
RandomAnthony
Bangkok 8 reads like the bastard offspring of a yaa baa-fueled brainstorming session between James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, and a Buddhist monk gathered around a manual typewriter in a South Asian bar with slowly rotating ceiling fans in the late afternoon, about four hours before the impossibly beautiful whores (who may or may not be women) come out for karaoke and transaction.

Also, any book that features a male Thai Buddhist cop drunk and pole dancing to Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” within...more
Felicia
HERE COME THE THAILAND BOOKS! I read all the books in this series while I was in Thailand, and besides the last one, I LOVED them. There's nothing better than being in a foreign country and reading a book SET in that country to live the flavor of both worlds more fully.

This is a mystery series starring a Buddhist cop who is half white/half thai, the son of a Thai prostitute. The cast is full of dirty and corrupt people you kind of fall in love with. It's violent and graphic and edgy and just re...more
Craig
Contains spoilers:

I couldn't take seriously for a second this book and its "only honest cop" (wherever) cliche. I lived in Bangkok for 3 years and Burdett's perceptions of Bangkok and the Thais are facile and sneering, laced with cultural chauvinism (the two often seem to go hand in hand), with caricatures rather than characters littering this book. Through the mouth of his protagonist, Burdett expresses pretentious opinions and thoughts you're more likely to find in a pub in Liverpool than on t...more
Brendan
We’re all exasperated with the police at one time or another. But in Bangkok, the pique is simply more acute.

“I used to buy whole trays of Rolex watches for police officers,” the city’s top sex tycoon complained to The New York Times recently. “I used to carry cash in black plastic bags for them. But they are still harassing me.”

In John Burdett’s thriller Bangkok 8, the half-Thai, half-American, all-Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep -- as dry and charming as a good martini -- explains the...more
Naeem
The novel Platform got me interested in the cultural political economy of sexual tourism, sexual encounter, and the sex service industry.

Then I heard about John Burdett's 4 novels (3 are out, he is writing the 4th one) based in Bangkok. Each is a detective story. The main character is what I call a "mixo" -- thai mother, african-american father. His mother is a retried sex worker, and he is a non-currupt detective who following the 8 fold path of Buddhism. The setting and plot are set within th...more
Sarah
Mar 31, 2008 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Friends of the Library sale
I am so thoroughly amazed at this book. I had read interesting reviews about it, so when I saw this next to the next book (Bangkok Tattoo) at the Friends of the Library sale, I jumped on it.

Allow me to preface by saying that I love good crime noir book- one where the heroes are as flawed as some of the bad guys and things are gritty and the subject matter is dark. I also adore reading about other cultures where you are so enmeshed that it feels a little like culture shock when you turn the page...more
Jessica
With a bang (or, rather, a venomous bite) John Burdett introduces us to the spiritual, yet corrupt, world of Bangkok policing, with the murder-by-drug-crazed-cobra of an expat African-American Army office in Bangkok. The attack also kills a police officer, and his partner/spiritual brother, seeks his killer. This reveals a colorful world of expat decadence, business-oriented prostitutes, corrupt cops, spicy food, Buddhism, hospitals specializing in transsexual operations, the jade trade, and som...more
Bill
Mar 11, 2013 Bill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
Shelves: mystery-asia, police
Excellent introduction to John Burdett's Sonchaii Jitpleecheep mysteries. Set in a very exotic locale of Bangkok Thailand with so many interesting things going on; great characters, I loved the relationship betw Sonchaii and the FBI agent. I kept wanting them to get together. One of the strangest murders I've ever read; so much interplay between cultures, the American, Thai, Buddhism, etc. Fascinating story. Loved it very much. I will read more.
Darrell Reimer
The older I get, the more prone I am to borrowing from the library before I put down money for a book. I was especially hesitant to pick up John Burdett's Bangkok 8, fearing it would be the lurid and grotty sort of “Neon Noir” that British male authors seem to revel in: a cascade of depravity concluding with collapse. (James Ellroy, who writes the sort of novels I most dislike, calls this book, "The last, most compelling word in thrillers.") But the premise held appeal: a murder to solve, anothe...more
Kdeuxoxo
Dec 06, 2013 Kdeuxoxo rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE AT ALL
Pretentious.

The author (or should I say a cheap salesman/opportunist he claims himself to be?) talks as if he knew it all about Thailand and its way of living or thinking.

If you want a glimpse to the real Thai, this is not the book you're looking for.

Before I get to the part when I express my deep hatred for the book, I feel more than delighted to point out certain false facts that Burdett includes in Bangkok 8.

Disclaimer: I'm Thai and was born into a Buddhist family. Below is the explaintaion...more
Susan
This book was not what I expected. I thought it would be a thriller, or a detective novel. Rather, it is an insightful look into the sex & crime culture in Bangkok Thailand. The author writes (through the voice of the narrator) "This isn't a whodunit, is it? More like a whatwillshedonext." That's a perfect description of this book. You figure out the details of the crime as you read, but more importantly, you understand WHY things happen. And the WHY is in the context of the deep, philosophi...more
Jamie
A crime novel set in Bangkok and featuring a devout Buddhist detective, the son of a Thai bar girl (now retired) and a long-gone American G.I.

I loved the writing style and the protagonist’s narrative. Much of the novel takes place in Bangkok’s red-light district, which does not fail to be fascinating. The institutional corruption and cronyism in Thai society is shocking to the farang reader (who is occasionally directly addressed), but it’s made clear that one can do good within the system. The...more
Tara
Mar 13, 2008 Tara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are really into thailand
i liked this book, but wasn't ultimately totally satisfied with it. i usually like to finish a fluff-type book like this with a feeling like "ahhhhhh that was good," but at the end of this one i just kinda felt like "meh."

i really liked reading about thailand/bangkok, given my obsession with the region, so that was cool. but the characters didn't really have a lot of depth (and were sometimes pretty implausible), and i wanted the plot to have more twists and turns and be more exciting.
Nick
Having stumbled on this series in my local library with Book 4 (The Godfather of Kathmandu), I became addicted. I put a request into the library for the remaining 4, and voila, they called. Now I'm racing thru them all, which is not hard. Burdett is a natural in the most fundamental tools of the genre storyteller, plot, atmosphere, character. We love these crazy Thai cops, whores, corrupt officials, and take pleasure in the dissing of the enemies, most of whom are from the United States or China...more
Matt Carrell
I found Bangkok 8 in a bookshop at Suvarnabhumi Airport as I was waiting for a flight back to London. Unfortunately I did not start reading it straight away. That’s why I still had about an hour’s reading to do when we were only 30 minutes short of Heathrow Airport. For the first time in my life, I was praying for my flight to go into a holding pattern, I could not wait to find out what happened. It was one of those books you start to read more slowly as you get to the end, you just don’t want i...more
Yulia
dare i say, after nearly proclaiming book rape for having to read "bangkok haunts," i went easily and pleasantly through this, the first in the bangkok series. it's lighter on the preachiness and has fewer embarrassingly didactic monologues, and i was nicely surprised that, in this novel, unlike "bangkok haunts," burdett actually justifies the social and criminal threat in the information held by the blackmailer(s) against the foreign big wig. so yes, if you're up for a thriller bundled in a cul...more
Karen
I'm not a fan of police procedurals, I don't tend to read thrillers or murder mysteries much anymore, and I'm not necessarily fascinated by southeastern Asia. That said, I found this book to be amazing on so many levels. Burdett is an exceptional writer, capturing a remarkable sense of place, crafting complex characters (especially the intriguing first-person narrator), and writing about aspects of the Bangkok sex trade without seeming prurient. With a deft hand, he balances the elements of the...more
1030noseride
You're either a fan of Thai prostitutes and that whole scene, or you're not. But if you're a Raymond Chandler fan, well, you'll just put this down and reread one of his.
Booknblues
I love to read for the journey and the adventure of it and Bangkok 8 by John Burdett certainly provides an exciting adventure to, you guessed it, Bangkok. This is the first of a mystery series about Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep and it is a great start, with an interesting main character, a great setting and a tantalizing mystery.

Sonchai is a mixed race Thai raised by his Thai mother who was a prostitute and an unknown American father. After having some trouble in his youth he was sent...more
Alex
This was your classic 3.5 star book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though it had a few minor issues. Namely, one of the main characters - the beautiful FBI agent Kimberly Jones - was as 2D as it gets, and you could practically smell the popcorn and see the big screen her character was intended for. Also, for a thriller, it had a solid mystery but surprisingly few action scenes, and the climax was more plot than action. But the plot was interesting, the pace lively, and the main character and many of...more
Joseph Halpern
When I think of Bangkok 8 I think of all the great literary novels set in foreign lands that have been criticised of overt racism and colonial indifference to smaller foreigh nations and their inhabitants. I think of all the movies and books deemed as classics by Western culture but are met with disgust and cries of racial insensitivity. Two examples that come to mind are Heart of Darkness and Bruce Lee's reaction to Breakfast at Tiffany's in the bio-pic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. I think of t...more
Jessica
Sep 30, 2007 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of orientalist crime noir for the new millenium
I LOVED this book. Love, love, love, love, LOVED it. I guess I'd say it's closest to James Ellroy, transplanted to 21st century Bangkok instead of mid-twentieth-century Los Angeles. The detective here is a Thai Buddhist cop, a strong, stylish character who is outdone only by Burdett's spectacularly vivid depiction of this urban underworld. The book's got the style, seediness, and over-the-top sense of place of Chandler's best, but does this great recentering trick by choosing the slums and broth...more
Carolynne
Barely 2 stars. I enjoyed the main character, Sonchai, and was sympathetic with his desire to avenge the death of his partner, but most of the other characters were either stereotypical or offensive. The FBI agent was a fantasy out of any hard-boiled detective novel, an apparently sex-starved beautiful blonde, lusting after Sonchai. Please. I thought the murderer was obvious pretty early on, so I probably would not have kept reading except that this was a bookclub selection. I did enjoy the refe...more
Genine Franklin-Clark
I liked this very much. The setting, while exotic, was not off-puttingly (yes, that IS a word . . .now)"foreign", possibly because of the humanity of Thai policeman, Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a unique character. His Buddist attitude toward so much in his country (his beloved prostitute mother, the sex trade, the corruption of police and other government officials),imbued with a calm affection, is warming, and his determination to kill the person responsible for the death of his beloved partner, chil...more
Janet
I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading others in this series.
Isabelle
If this had been just a regular whodunnit, it would have been plenty! Imagine, the gruesome murder of a US Marine, a most unusual murder weapon, the intense sex trade business in Bangkok, a corrupt police force, and the heat, always the heat, be it the heat of women, the humid heat of the city or that of the chilis that accompany each morsel of food. And of course, there must be political/revolutionary factions as it is Southeast Asia after all, and there must be drugs, and there must be the FBI...more
Christy
Why did I have this marked as read/couldn't finish? This is the worst category I have.

In fact, this book is going on my best 2014 list. If you like mystery, you'll love this. It's even better reading when you're in Thailand as I am. The plot is complicated with lots of unexpected twists, just what you want in a mystery, and it's got a lot of cultural information about Thais so you learn quite a bit, too. An absolutely awesome book. Now, I'm off to start Bangkok Tattoo...
Lori
East and West collide in this detective story involving Thailand's sex and drug trades. The cultural differences are highlighted extensively, particularly in the various ways that the same case is investigated by local Thai police and FBI agents brought in because of the death of an American marine. This book explores the cultural mindset each person has and the difficulties in understanding another culture's perspective on the same issues.
Mike Rasbury
A variation of the quote having do with a bang and a whimper comes to mind. Bangkok 8 starts with a bang—pun not intended—and very much grinds to a whimper. That is, despite being so terribly preoccupied with literal banging.

You see, this book isn't so much a crime novel, and it certainly isn't a mystery. Nor is it a book about Buddhism, and it certainly isn't a book about Thailand. It is a book about sex, and the professions that trade in it. This is painfully obvious part way through the book...more
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John Burdett is a novelist and former lawyer. He was born in England and worked in Hong Kong; he now lives in Thailand and France.
More about John Burdett...
Bangkok Tattoo (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #2) Bangkok Haunts (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #3) The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #4) Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5) The Last Six Million Seconds

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