The Godfather of Kathmandu: A Royal Thai Detective Novel (4)
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The Godfather of Kathmandu: A Royal Thai Detective Novel (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #4)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,287 ratings  ·  210 reviews
Sonchai Jitpleecheep—John Burdett’s inimitable Royal Thai Police detective with the hard-bitten demeanor and the Buddhist soul—is summoned to the most shocking and intriguing crime scene of his career. Solving the murder could mean a promotion, but Sonchai, reeling from a personal tragedy, is more interested in Tietsin, an exiled Tibetan lama based in Kathmandu who has bec...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Vintage (first published October 13th 2009)
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John Burdett started out so strong with Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo, mainly due to his appealing protagonist, the biracial, trilingual Thai cop Sonchai Jitpleecheep. Sonchai's the bomb--an ex-drug addict, devout Buddhist, fashionisto, and detective in one of Bangkok's roughest neighborhoods, where he grew up among the prostitutes in his mom's brothel. In both those books, he investigates horrifying crimes, using his Buddhist perspective and street savvy in equal measure.

But with the third book...more
I have loved reading crime novels set in foreign lands ever almost from the beginning of my obsession with the genre in the 70's, moving my way through Amsterdam, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Japan, and other lands. Rarely have I fallen so head over heels in love with a character and setting as I have with Burdett's Bangkok protagonist, Sonchai Jitpleecheep -- precisely because the tale exemplifies the pleasures one takes these international policiers, namely the culture as character. Of course I can...more
Dec 15, 2013 Annie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans interested in Asian culture; Buddhism
Recommended to Annie by: Discovered this series after tiring of much formulaic; stodgy books in the mystery genre
Being formerly a huge mystery fan at one time, I reached a point where except for a few writers, I just found too many plots going for shock value & for me, this being akin to a skip in a record, I gravitated towards genres where fresher things were happening. That is until the day I happened upon the Thai Royal Detective Series, bringing to life the complex Buddhist Thai-American cross in the form if one Sonchai Jitpleecheep. From, the very 1st in series, up to "Godfather of Kathmandu," thi...more

Don't let the title locale fool you: this fourth installment of John Burdett's Sochai Jitpleecheep series is firmly based on the original formula of the earlier Bangkok books. Six years after Bangkok Haunts, Sonchai, now 37, is called to the scene of a gruesome murder. Hollywood director Frank Charles is eviscerated with a chunk of skull and brains removed, in the fashion of foreign noir novels found at the scene. Although this spectacular case is a chance for promotion, Sonchai is not terribly

Warren Olson
I am in awe of Burdett’s writing. While I struggle to get depth of characters in my writing attempts, he does so with amazing skill. Not just your basic descriptive run-down of mood and appearance, but his characters are such we tend to know their souls, their inner thoughts, their demons.
HOWEVER, in the Godfather of Kathmandu, I have to say that Burdett, through his main character Sonchai does I believe go am little too far trying to impress his ‘dear readers/farang’ with his knowledge or in f...more
I found this one to be a very unusual detective novel. Set in Thailand, the main character is one Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep of the Royal Thai Police and in addition to being the protagonist, he is our guide to Thai culture, religion and of course, language. As readers, we are referred to as “farang” or “foreigner” in the Thai language and this provides his platform for guiding us through a labyrinth of customs, religious curiosities and Asian historical anomalies that would be unfathomable...more
Laura Thompson
Ugh. I gotta let this one marinate before I write a review, but a few things stand out:

1. I'm gonna have to take a break from "Americans are stupid" lit for a while. I just read all four of these back to back and I've had it right up to "here" with people telling me I suck. You know what's amazing? That's probably 1000 pages detailing why I should be ashamed of my culture and my country, and I'm not. So that's good. (for me, anyway)

2. Sonchai started as a guy I enjoyed and understood, even tho...more
Sonchai Jitpleecheep is back, fresh from a personal tragedy and still trying to balance his desire to be a good, clean cop while working for one of Thailand's most powerful druglords (who also happens to be the police chief).

Sonchai is investigating the gruesome murder of a successful Hollywood director, while working to arrange a huge heroin shipment from a Kathmandu. While I really like to say "Kathmandu" (go on - say it), that whole part is confusing and random and f...more
I never buy a librarian I am surrounded by them and know how to find any one I want to read. However, I made an exception and ordered this one so I would not have to wait my turn in the holds queue. I am so glad I did because it is yet another complex and riveting story starring the brilliantly conflicted Sonchai Jitpleecheep who is as interesting as his name. My brother has lived in Bangkok for years but I have learned more about the city from the details of Burdett's books than I ha...more
So I enjoyed this book as well, but less than the first three. Again, we have the mysterious and fascinating woman character key to the plot, which is getting a bit repetitive in the series. The soul searching of the main character and his religion, trapped between corruption and personal tragedies, is what drew me in again. I learned a lot about Buddhism and Tibet and that was interesting too.

I would just suggest breaking up the series and not reading it straight through if you're loving it, s...more
I love Sonchai Jitpleecheep - the most interesting character in a crime novel since Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). This is the first one I've read but it is fun, funny and fast read. Now back to Ulysses.
Not one of his best. Love the main character but all the asides to you and me the farang started to annoy me. The plot is pretty confusing too. I hope the next one is better because I like Sonchai and his musings - as long as they dont go on and on and bang you over the head with a club. Duh!
Following the career advancement, investigations, philosophical struggles, and cultural explaining of Royal Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the main character in John Burdett's Bangkok series has been one of my favorite literary excursions over the past few years. Sonchai, the half Thai/half American (farang) son of a former prostitute and current brothel owner (he is a part owner), is a devout, spiritual Buddhist who wrestles with the karmic implications of his role as a minion (and...more
Toni Osborne
Book 4 in the Sonchai Jitpleecheep series

The writer’s speciality is to take his readers on an exotic and mysterious jaunt exploring the back streets of Bangkok where sex is a marketable commodity. He drags us into a culture unknown to many with his observations of the drug trade and official corruption. He also touches through his protagonist the religious customs of Tibetan Buddhism.

As the book opens, Sonchai is struggling with the loss of his son and is depending more and more on a mixture of...more
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Jim Leffert
Wow! From the author of Bangkok 8 comes a truly satisfying crime novel, the latest featuring the Bangkok police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep. Sonchai is trying to do the impossible: to serve under the corrupt police commander Colonel Vikorn while pursuing a path to enlightenment through Buddhism. The detective’s spiritual quest becomes even more quixotic when the Colonel, inspired by The Godfather movies, chooses Sonchai to be his consigliere. The colonel orders Sonchai to go to Kathmandu to n...more
I stumbled upon John Burdett's first mystery in this series "Bangkok 8" and found it intriguing for its major character, Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, whose father was an American GI and his mother still runs a brothel.I like him for his attempt to practice his Buddhism in the gritty worlds he inhabits: the street life of noodle shops,country girls become prostitutes, international sex tourists and backpackers. In this story in the series, Sonchai tries to balance investigati...more
Dennis Fischman
Like the main character, Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, this book is a half-breed. Look at its features from one angle and you'll swear you see a hard-boiled detective story out of Hammett or Chandler. Even though the movie cited in the book is The Godfather, Sonchai is no Michael Corleone: he's Sam Spade as played by Humphrey Bogart, a man trying to live by a moral code of his own in an amoral world. (And he doesn't understand dames any better than Spade does.) As an example of the genre, it's...more
Eric Thirolle
This book was another serendipitous library find. I don't read a lot of mystery novels, but I do like the occasional mystery set in an unfamiliar culture or environment or time. This goes some way to explaining why The Name of the Rose is one of my all-time favorite novels. A good mystery novel always contains some wisdom; enough wisdom, and it crosses that invisible line between genre novel and "literature".

This book compares well with books from Tony Hillerman, John Straley and Dana Stabenow....more
William Young
Excellent story, maybe the best one yet. Burdett has such an easy style of writing, and Sonchai is such an engaging character, that even the preposterousness of the mysteries is easily overlooked. I don't read much detective fiction - well, aside from the one Raymond Chandler a few years back, none, technically - so I can't really compare it to anything. Suffice to say the stories are over-the-top in a good way, with half-way believable explanations, and the characters are vivid and unique.

"The Godfather of Kathmandu" is classified as a mystery, but about halfway through, I realized that I wasn’t as interested in finding out who killed Hollywood director Frank Charles as I was in seeing how Royal Thai policeman Sonchai Jitpleecheep resolved his spiritual journey. Would he find peace through the Buddhist training of the enigmatic Tibetan Tietsin? And/or would he help his boss make a $40 million heroin deal?

Burdett pulls all the story threads together nicely put not too neatly, whic...more
Frederick Masterman
I found the fourth book of the Sonchai Jitpleecheep series to be as interesting and entertaining as the first three, and recommend it without hesitation. The story seemed easier to follow than earlier books. The affable first person narrative, taking the reader inside the life and mind of Sonchai, continues to lead one into the spiritual depths of the Asian world, both in Thailand and (in this book) Tibet. There’s the usual amount of visionary adventure, with the familiar cast of bizarre charact...more
The Godfather of Kathmandu continues Burdett’s Sonchai Jitpleecheep series showcasing a distinct oriental feel continuing to distance itself from a genre flooded with pop culture Americanised police procedurals. Not as good as its predecessors (notably Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo), Burdett’s latest effort isn’t without shock and awe moments as Sonchai investigates the macabre murder of a Hollywood film director in one of the more seedier haunts of Bankok in which the killer takes not overtly su...more
For those who find themselves irremediably interlopers, there has always been a lot to read about yourself, much of it not flattering or pretty. The hybrid detective novels of John Burdett offer a tempting way out -- his protagonist, Inspector Sonchai Jitpleecheep of the Bangkok PD, is not an interloper, not Thai, but a half breed mix, so you get to read both as an outsider and taste the delights known only to those on the inside.

The Godfather of Kathmandu is the fourth novel in the series. I ha...more
This is the fourth book that Burdett has written featuring Sonchai, but it is the first one that I’ve read. I think that if I had previous experience of the books I may have found this one a little easier to read. The plot of the murder is entwined with the drugs plot which has a subplot of Sonchai’s own quest for spiritual enlightenment. I personally found the murder plot line the most interesting, but this was the one that had the least coverage. I found the spiritual plot the least interestin...more
несмотря на всю глобальную красочность, эффектность, динамичность, многоплановость и витиеватую замысловатость четвертого романа о детективе сончае – он мне понравился меньше, чем предыдущие, хотя и прочитал я его быстрее, чем каждый из предыдущих: наверное, именно поэтому.

во-первых – это структурное совпадение расследуемого убийства с тем, которое было в третьей книге; однако дополнительно оно завернуто еще в несколько слоев кожи, снятой с английской методичностью с умберто эко – ибо иначе про...more
Brendan Detzner
In short: Not the place to start if you haven't read any of these yet, and I didn't like it as much as the previous books, but there's still a lot of amazing stuff and I'm excited that he's still taking risks and keeping things crazy. I'm still a huge fan of the series and would invite just about anybody to read Bangkok 8 and see if they don't drop some cash on the others immediately. (Also contains an appropriately reverent shout-out to Thomas Harris that I almost gave it an extra star for.)

Tim Niland
I have long found this series of detective novels by John Burdett fascinating. The main character is a devoutly Buddhist Thai cop in Bangkok, Sonchai Jitpleecheep, who tries to remain unscathed by the madness and corruption around him while solving crimes that often involve foreign visitors. This book has three main plots, as the detective must attempt to solve the spectacular murder of an American film director while arranging to be the facilitator of the delivery of a massive shipment of heroi...more
#4 Sonchai Jitpleecheep mystery set in Bangkok, Thailand (and also in part in Kathmandu, Nepal.) Sonchai is called to the scene of a brutal murder, an American film producer/director who was essentially gutted, with the top of his head sawed off and a few bites of his brains scooped onto a plate, partially consumed. (No...this is not a cozy. LOL)

This murder mystery takes the back seat to the rest of the goings-on, with Sonchai becoming his boss Colonel Vikorn's consigliere (after Vikorn watches...more
Following the career advancement, investigations, philosophical struggles, and cultural explaining of Royal Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the main character in John Burdett's Bangkok series has been one of my favorite literary excursions over the past few years. Sonchai, the half Thai/half American (farang) son of a former prostitute and current brothel owner (he is a part owner), is a devout, spiritual Buddhist who wrestles with the karmic implications of his role as a minion (and...more
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Farang ... derogatory ?! 3 11 Dec 15, 2013 04:37AM  
Tibetan Tantra Buddhism 1 5 Sep 04, 2012 05:57AM  
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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 8 (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #1) Bangkok Tattoo (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #2) Bangkok Haunts (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #3) Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5) The Last Six Million Seconds

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