Rowland Bismark's Reviews > Bangkok 8

Bangkok 8 by John Burdett
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's review
Jul 27, 2010

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Read in January, 2005

A flight from Indonesia to Bangkok via Singapore is probably about the perfect time and place to pick up the murder mystery. Lucky me. The story is set in the streets of present day Bangkok. It offers the reader a compelling and stark view of this city of over 10 million inhabitants from an insider's point of view. The story line seemed less important than the confrontation between the western mind and the Buddhist Asian mind. Burrdett does a grand job examining western precepts from the perspective of an educated Bangkok police detective who's mother was a Thai prostitute and whose father was a long absent American serviceman who passed through Bangkok during the Viet Nam war.

The murder of an American military sergeant leads to a cascading series of revelations and incidents involving he American FBI, the local Bangkok police, Khmer Rouge gangs from Cambodia, jade dealing Chine ese merchants from the Golden triangle, meth dealers and the the whole amazingly large and varied world of Thai prostitution.

The authors' insightful knowledge of Thailand and the historic power of the Buddhist spiritualism that pervades every level of that society lends the book a deep credibility and provides an important and illuminating look at ourselves from another frame of reference. Corruption, prostitution and even life and death will never seem quite the same. Read it in Bangkok if at all possible but if you are a fan of culturally set mysteries go ahead and read it anywhere.

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