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Bangkok Haunts
John Burdett
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Bangkok Haunts (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #3)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  2,607 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Sonchai has seen just about everything on his beat in Bangkok's crime-riddled District 8. But the video he's sent anonymously is something else. What he watches is a snuff film, and the person he sees die is Damrong, a woman he once loved and whom he still dreams about.

And there's more: a twist at the end that turns the film into murder, and Sonchai into a man obsessed and
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 21st 2007 by Bantam Press (first published January 1st 2007)
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324 pages into this book I read this line: "Survival on earth (sic) is our true god, or we would have migrated to less challenging planets millennia ago." Actually Mr. Burdett, no. No 'we' wouldn't have. This sounds like a lofty sentiment, but really today in 2010, in 2006 or so when this book takes place or in 1000 BCE we have no choice but to stay here on this planet and go on with our lives. It's not choice, it's reality. Normally I don't give a shit when authors spout nonsensical shit. I kno ...more
Dec 28, 2007 Frank rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travelers / Series Fans
John Burdett is not a great writer to be sure... but an engaging one. You feel he's pushing you through his roller coasters instead of taking you along for the ride. The dialogue is catastrophically didactic and screams for an Editor with steel toed shit-kicker to tattoo John's arse. The damn thing is, I enjoy these reads anyway. Burdett's a strong plotter and doesn't go for the conventional neatly wrapped endings of your average thriller / mystery.

His FBI character Kimberly is poorly developed
Lance Charnes
Sep 01, 2015 Lance Charnes rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who want some magic with their murder
This, the third in the continuing saga of Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a half-Thai/half-American former-monk-turned-cop in Bangkok, shows both the strengths and weaknesses of this series in spades. This time, however, its flirtation with weirdness takes it right over the edge.

The setup is deceptively straightforward. Someone sends to Sonchai a glossy, artistic snuff film starring a beautiful prostitute with whom he was once desperately in lust. His rambunctiously corrupt boss is more interested in prod
Probably the best in the series, certainly a much more linear story than the previous two and a more traditional mystery that unfolds in the typically satisfying ways of the genre. This one's also quite a bit more supernatural and mystical than the previous two. Although the whole series has flirted with the supernatural, it's always been in relation to Buddhist philosophy. This time, there are ghosts and possessions--not exactly horror movie material but certainly less grounded in reality.

3.5 stars. Another good book featuring Royal Thai Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a devout Buddhist who frequently dismays his fellow citizens by his refusal to accept bribes. I love the atmosphere in these books, but the plots are only getting weirder.

This one skirts on the edge of having supernatural elements, as Sonchai thinks he’s being haunted by the ghost of an old lover who has been murdered. It’s complicated story involving prostitution, of course, with some pornography added to t
John Burdett's books always make me wish I were Thai, at least for a while. He somehow conjures a mystic, Asian hominess amidst a sea of sex workers, police corruption, and violence. In Bangkok Haunts, we have the most surreal adventure yet -- the vengeful spirit of a dead prostitute haunts, and eventually tries to murder, all the men that took advantage of her. As always, well-written and a pleasure to read.
So, this series at this point gets a bit iffy, because accumulating, there is a LOT of degradation of women in these books (this one's about a horrifying porn/snuff film, this plot). I was really drawn in, though, by the analysis and characters studies in this book, and the theme of karma and redemption and fighting between women taking control of their own lives, and the sex trade. SO again, if you have trigger issues this is NOT the series for you. If you like very graphic and violent and dark ...more
My personal experience of Thailand is limited to a two hour layover on the way back from Australia, i.e virtually zero which is one of the reasons I picked this book up. Despite the fact the John Burdett isn’t Thai, he has obviously spent a great deal of time in South East Asia and I hope what he writes about has an element of truth because his portrayal of Thailand is an intense and possibly controversial one.

Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep weaves his way through the worlds of corrupt cops and
As much as I love Burdett's uncanny ability to nail the feel of Bangkok (his description of Thai cuisine is without equal) and the Thai mentality, I have grown weary of his main subject matter - prostitution. It would be nice if he somehow coupled his thrillers with a more direct message as to the evils of human trafficking.
Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep returns in full form in this third installment of the Bangkok series. Five years after Bangkok 8, Sonchai calls FBI Special Agent Kimberley Jones into town when he receives a high quality snuff film featuring his one time lover, the bewitching prostitute Damrong whose spirit now plagues him--and most of the male suspects for orchestrating her death on film. Unlike the Sonchai of Bangkok Tattoo, he is less disparaging of farangs (perhaps because he ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime fiction Fans and those who want to try something new.
Recommended to Ed by: John Gregory
I'd read Bangkok 8 by Burdett, a number of years ago but, for one reason or another had not read any of the subsequent books in the Sonchai Jitpleecheep series. I now know what I've missed.

This effort is even better than Bangkok 8. The characters are more interesting, the plot is more finely drawn and the over-all style of the book shows Burdett's growth as a writer.

In this story, Sonchai, is sent, anonymously, a pornographic snuff flick that features an ex-girl friend as the victim. Along with
Carl R.
John Burdett may be the top English-wrting mystery novelist specializing in Asia. With due respect to Graham Greene (Burdett is not of his caliber) his Quiet American is I believe his only Asian work. Burdett, on the other hand, has written a compelling mystery set in the final days of Hong Kong’s possession by the British (The Last Six Million Seconds) and now three novels featuring his Thai/American Bhuddist-pimp detective, Sonchai Jitpleecheep. The other two--Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo--ma ...more
i would never have finished this book had my boyfriend, frank, not been such a huge fan of this and its two precursors and had he not accused me of intellectual snobbery more than once on account of my difficulty overlooking its heavy-handed and pedantic dialogue and the inauthenticity of the protagonist's voice. it's almost impossible to believe sonchai grew up in thailand, even if he was an outsider as half-farang, and i found this device more distracting than it was worth. but i pressed on an ...more
Dilpreet Singh
Bangkok Haunts

This is the 3rd book in the Bangkok Thai police detective Sonchai Jitplecheep series. Compared to the last 2 books in the series, I personally feel that this novel misses mark.

Though the originality of the Thailand culture & society, which is the forte of these Bangkok series by John Burdett's remains as an important ingredient of the book & keeps the reader motivated. But yet, the Bangkok belief system with regards to occult & ghosts has been stretched a bit.

It is und
This is the third book in this series. It has many of the same characters as the first two, but in this one Sonchai doesn't seem quite himself. The Thai setting as usual almost dominates characters and action, and the plot is engaging, however there seems to be less of the undercurrent of humor. I liked it, just not as well as the first two, and I'm looking forward to the next one.
Carol Hunter
Books that are set in other cultures are frequently intriguing for me. This book in a series that features Bankok detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a devout Buddhist, is a fascinating mystery that features an erotic ghost, prostitution, a snuff film, etc. It was a little too exotic for my tastes in the long run.
Look, he says the word "farang" just about every single page. If you like haints, buddhism, criticism of the West, and the word "farang." This book's for you. I am going to Thailand this month, whereupon I too will become a farang. Farang farang farang farang.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series and was keen to dive into Thailand's underbelly with Sonchai again.

This book was written in the same theme - as you would expect. There was the mix of Buddhism, genuine investigative techniques, "magic", psychology and mysticism used by Sonchai in another Thai themed murder investigation.

I will say two things:

First - the fact that Sonchai has got married and also had a heavy fling prior to that with one of the working girls from his Mother's bar all
Loved the first two books and read them in a about a week. This one was painful, over the top, convoluted and lame. It took me over a month to get through it -I hope he writes another in the series to show that this was just a blip!
Ann M
These Bangkok books are a riot if you like exotic detective fiction with supernatural themes.
Real disapointment. I liked Bangkok 8 very much, but Bangkok Tatto and Bangkok Haunts are really, really bad. The author is using familiar themes form first novel but with less and less skill. The plot simply doesn't hold, it is pathetically absurd - almost everything in the book happene deus ex machina - which demonstrates author's inability with building a good plot.
And the topics of Sonchai's internal monologue (bitching about the West failures, thainess, magic powers and revenge of isaan wh
Although I've loved the first two novels in Burdett's Sonchai Jitpleecheep series, the inclusion of a snuff film as a major plot point made me honestly uncertain about starting this one. I needn't have worried. Burdett handles the whole novel with his usual deft touch, and in addition to his always excellent prose, his astute depictions of culture and personality, and his unique plot twists, he handles both violence and sexuality without prurience or sensationalism. In less skilled hands, this p ...more
Toni Osborne
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.
narrated by Glen McCready 12 hours 48 minutes Sonchai Jitpleecheep, the hero of Burdett’s Bangkok-based thrillers, is a unique police detective. A Buddhist as closely attuned to karma as to crime, Sonchai is profoundly aware that the latter is only an expression of the former, and, accordingly, he finds answers in places that logic-hampered Westerners would never know to look. In his third adventure to date, a murdered prostitute proves to be—even more in death than she was in life—a femme fatal ...more
BANGKOK HAUNTS is the third book in the series set in Bangkok and featuring Sonchai Jitpleecheep as the protagonist. Jitpleecheep is a police detective who has a side job working as a security guard in his mother's whorehouse. He is married to a former prostitute, who is just about to give birth to their first child. Lest I paint too idyllic a picture, Sonchai is also fooling around with the ghost of a former lover. He's been reintroduced to her after viewing a snuff film in which she is the vic ...more
I bashed the previous two books in this series, so for the sake of fairness, I'll try to say something nice this time around. Still, it's a challenge. I will say the author writes pretty well, even though he really has nothing to say that's worth hearing. And while his knowledge of Thailand seems mostly second hand and the little direct knowledge he has had could have been gleaned from sitting on a bar stool in Patpong, less time on anti-American rants would have been taken more seriously coming ...more
I checked this out of the library, as it seemed to be a mystery that I would find engaging, and it is, but only in the final pages. Before that, it is a farcical rambling through a culture where drugs and prostitution are the normal ways of making money, all cops (except the hero) are corrupt, and the only way for anyone to ever feel good about themselves is do some kind of karmic payback for any favor ever granted.

Perhaps that is to some extent the viewpoint of some residents of Thailand, but h
Iowa City Public Library
Sonchai Jitpleecheep seems to be the only honest cop in Thailand, tho he moonlights managing his mother’s brothel, and his immediate supervisor Vikorn is a gangster, dealing in meth and blackmail. Moreover, Sonchai’s a Buddhist with a vastly different world view than westerners, whom he regards with condescension and pity, even as he acknowledges their power over him. He addresses the reader as farang, which translates roughly to "foreigner." It’s not a complimentary term.

In this third series en
I realize that I jumped into this series at book #3, but that did not hurt my enjoyment of this fascinating story at all. I recently read The City and the City by China Mieville, and the similarities are intriguing.

Like The City and The City this is at its core a hard-boiled murder mystery. However, while Mr. Mieville makes up the cultural and historical differences between two unique cities, Mr. Burdett simply contrasts the Thai world-view in Bangkok to that of the west. Perhaps this is a 3rd-p
Burdett remains an excellent and far-too-little-known writer, and his setting of Bangkok is a fascinating one. Unfortunately, it is ultimately also a limiting one, and by now (the third book in a series of at least six) he's already hit all the key notes. There's prostitution, and drugs, on prostitution and drugs. The apparently very active transsexual scene; the porn industry; and, well, different drugs. And while I've always enjoyed Sonchai's spiritual musings, this one v ...more
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Around the World ...: Ilona recommends: Bangkok Haunts 2 17 Oct 18, 2011 05:37PM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Sonchai Jitpleecheep (6 books)
  • Bangkok 8 (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #1)
  • Bangkok Tattoo (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #2)
  • The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #4)
  • Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5)
  • The Bangkok Asset

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“I am moonlighting for the Buddha.” 2 likes
“The function of the West is to turn bodies and minds into products. It cannot understand that the rest of the world holds this to be an obscenity, a corruption of our nirvanic nature.” 0 likes
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