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Vulture Peak (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,460 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
Nobody knows Bangkok like Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, and there is no one quite like Sonchai: a police officer who has kept his Buddhist soul intact—more or less—despite the fact that his job shoves him face-to-face with some of the most vile and outrageous crimes and criminals in Bangkok. But for his newest assignment, everything he knows about his c ...more
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Knopf (first published July 5th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thailand
”This system carries with it the unspoken implication that once someone has been defined as an ‘object,’ it is automatically assumed to be ‘promiscuous’ in the sense that it may be bought and sold like any other object, even if the object in question is somebody’s kidney or liver--or whole body. This kind of thinking is exactly what underpinned the slave trade for hundreds of years: as soon as a captive West African was defined as ‘property.’ then he could be treated as a ‘promiscuous object,’ t ...more
I love the collision of spirituality and worldly corruption in this series featuring Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep in the sinful world of modern Bangkok. This 5th in the series is a satisfying addition to the saga. It widens the gyre by getting Sonchai involved in a murder case linked to the global illegal organ trade, with Thailand somehow in the middle between factions in China marketing body parts from executed prisoners and Western customers.

Sonchai tries hard to advance justice wh
Adam James
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
John Burdett was sitting there uncomfortably. He'd been in these meetings before. He tries his best smile despite his contempt. "I told you, I'm done with the Sonchai Jitpleecheep character. That's it. I've stretched it far enough."
"They really want you to write another one, John. It's a popular series."
"Yeah, but I mean, I'm ready to explore other areas in literature. Have you ever gone bird watching? It's truly magni--"
"John. Dead hookers. That's what the people want. You have a successful
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Annnnd here's where the series disappointed me :( It was if the author had lost the love of the character and the philosophies behind the series, and tried to do different things that kind of fought with the core of what he'd built? I dunno, it just felt like a whole different writer wrote this one. The plot and setting is, again, really interesting and fun, but opening the world in an odd way gutted why I loved the character. I guess I wanted more spiritual stuff, and this went to crazytown, wi ...more
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love these Thailand (mostly Bangkok) books by Burdett. Sure, I know he's a farang (he's taught readers we foreigners are called farangs by the Thai), but shows an appreciation of Thai culture that borders on obsession. This is his fifth Bangkok novel, after all. In his novels, Burdett makes fun of American culture seen from the Thai perspective so much that I think it would be fair to ask him: I would like to know how many Thai people Burdett has had sex with, which of the three genders has he ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Sonchai's crooked boss Colonel Vikorn is running for mayor of Bangkok and decides to make a campaign issue out of stopping organ harvesting on the heels of a triple murder in a posh home in Vulture Peak. Sonchai is places in charge of the investigation that takes him to Dubai, Phuket and China as he seeks to solve the grisly murders. A set of Chinese twins (the Yips) seem to be at the center of the trafficking, but are they someone's pawns? As always, Burdett explores the dark side of humanity i ...more
Carl R.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
John Burdett kind of exploded onto the thriller scene a few years back with his Bangkok 8, and he’s kept the adventures of conscience-ridden detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep flowing ever since. Vulture Peak is the latest installment.
Jitleecheep is a fascinating character. He’s half white--G.I. father--and his mother is a prostitute cum (pun intended) madame. Thus, he was raised in a whorehouse. His boss in completely corrupt, and his schemes to best a military rival in their competing criminal
Jamie Collins
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: noir-crime
2.5 stars. I love the characters and the setting for this series, but the books have been getting weirder (and they started off pretty damned weird). Sonchai’s personal life provides some grounding for the wacky yet sinister mystery/crime plots; this time the background is a layer of mistrust between Sonchai and his wife. Their relationship has never seemed real to me, though, so it wasn’t a satisfying counterbalance to the book’s outrageous aspects.

I was glad that the author omitted the superna
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
I had a chance to read John Burdett's "Vulture Peak", this is my first exposure to his work and would look forward to reading the rest of the series which I believe totals five books crafted around his main character Thailand detective Mr. Sanchai Jitpleecheep.

The novel starts with a triple homicide in a very upscale neighborhood (Vulture Peak), in which not only are the victims brutally murdered, their organs, including their faces are removed from each. Sanchai's boss Colnel Vikorn, directs hi
Emily Crow
There's a good story in here somewhere, but overall, this book got on my last nerve. I thought the plotting was sloppy, with subplots and characters seeming to appear and disappear at random, and the protagonist, Sonchai, seemed rather incompetent. Also, the writing abruptly changes from past tense to present tense about a third of the way through, and I'm the kind of stickler who finds that sort of thing annoying.

Also, I found the book to be rather misogynistic. (view spoiler)
John Hubbard
Apr 25, 2017 rated it liked it
One of the weaker in the series. Perhaps signaling time to stop but I will probably read part 6 when I find a cheap copy.
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fluff, audio-books
An explosion of 1) the grotesque and 2) male fantasy. The book is about the underground trade in body parts, so naturally you would expect the grotesque. A cooler full of eyeballs seems about right. And it's a popular mystery, so naturally you would expect people saying such tired old saws as, "I don't have to tell you what I'm thinking, do I?" and "You already know what I'm going to do." But the unexpected here is, first of all, some unusual characters who are a bit more complex than the run-of ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Burdett does something memorable in this episode of his Bangkok series (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #5). He introduces two of the most interesting character creations he’s had in years: the bipolar and incisively intelligent Inspector Chan of the Hong Kong police force, and the incomparably sophisticated Detective San Bin of the Shanghai police. Mind you, these two men are creations of a Western mind, but they are everything a reader wants in a detective: very smart and very sly, with an unparalleled s ...more
Kathleen McFall
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow. Who knew that organ trafficking, empowered prostitution, sexy twins, dirty politics, infidelity and true love could be woven into such a compelling story? Wait a minute ... as I write these words it occurs to me: have I been conned? Are the salacious plot elements and the juicy narrative of Vulture Peak subliminally and callously constructed to ring all the most primal and secretive human bells? Is that writing or marketing?

Meh. Who cares. Not me because Vulture Peak is a good and gripping
Patrick McCoy
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-noir, fiction

Vulture Peak (2012) is the fifth installment of the Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep mystery series by John Burdett. I felt the need for something lighter for a break. I mostly enjoy Burdett's books for the exotic locales and here there's lots of that since there are forays from Bangkok to Phuket, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Monte Carlo. However, I have to say that the dialogue was really bothering me this time around. The characters started to blend together as their styles of speaking w
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Every 'Bangkok' novel is a delight, and is written from a most unique perspective -- that of a male, middle-aged, married, Buddhist, Thai homicide detective who manages to keep his heart, soul, and mind intact through the horrors of his work and the all-pervasive corruption within the police force. Cultures and sub-cultures clash -- in this case, Thai, American, and Chinese -- and John Burdett spares us no aspect of the universal human condition. Humour abounds, too; there is genuine comedy in B ...more
Don Schecter
Jun 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
The plots of volumes 1-3 were amazingly fresh and made me look for the next book. But Godfather of Kathmandu was a different book. Mystery took a back seat to the hero's investigation of his religious beliefs and I found myself learning a great deal about comparative Buddhism. Vulture Peak was a further departure: I stayed with it because I liked Sonchai, his extended family of characters, and the Bangkok ambience from the first four books. After waiting through two-thirds of the book for the st ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I look forward the arrival of each addition to Burdett's Thai series, even the somewhat weaker ones, such as this one. Sonchai Jitpleecheep is caught up in another mystery, the murder of three in a mountaintop estate that forces the detective to enter the dark world of organ sales. Of course he meets seductive women, trolls the underbelly of Thai (and also Chinese) society, and does the bidding of his powerful corrupt boss. It is scary actually to think that this type of thing actually goes on, ...more
Betsy Lewis-moreno
Jan 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. I had so been looking forward to the latest in Burdett's Bangkok series. The story is disjointed with long rambling monologues and Wikipedia entries that do nothing to move the story forward or make us care about the characters. Familiar characters such as Lek and Vikorn drop in oh so briefly but then drop out again. We see glimpses of the Sonchai that I so enjoyed in the other books, but in too many instances it was hard to figure out exactly what he was doing and why. I ...more
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sonchai Jitpleecheep is a detective in Bangkok who works for a spectacularly corrupt and cynical superior. The superior, Colonel Vikorn, is in charge of a crackdown on the illegal body part trade at the same time that he seeks to make a fortune from it. Jitpleecheep, who is a very funny narrator and guide to a surreal world, has to be very careful while overseeing a sting operation. The fact that he has a Buddhist monk-like (except in matters of sexual activity) orientation on life (that means h ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Disturbing, weird, but still a page turner. This was like the first two novels in the series in terms of the flow of the narrative. Burdett does a lot of philosophizing about religion, capitalism, etc. The Chinese twins are pure evil and Sonchai meets some interesting police colleagues from China. You never know where the plot is going in this series. We jet to Dubai, Nice,and China tracking an organ ring but is that what we are really after? One never knows in this series. Given the duplicity o ...more
Rick F.
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
quite a fun and facinating read- great local and really involves the reader (the narrator addresses us throughout the book as have to read book to understand what DFR means!) quite a good entry in a very good series!
Feb 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Another book in the Sochai Jitpleecheep series. Fan of the series, not the best of the series, felt like it could have used another look see from the editor, language was awkward at times. The case in this book focuses on the black market for transplant organs.
Jesus Portillo
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Smart, funny, gruesome, and well written.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
After our son died, she had nothing much to do, so she studied sociology because I told her it was about people and society. She has an excellent brain and was at the top of her classes. The price she paid was that she had to think like a *farang*. It seemed to her there was something seriously missing in *farang* logic: it only dealt with measurable things and had no way of incorporating the Unnameable -- or even basic human nuance -- in its calculations. She let that pass, at considerable cost ...more
Terje Fokstuen
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the fifth entry in John Burdette's Inspector Jitpleecheep series. Bangkok based Royal Thai Police Inspector Jitpleecheep is an honest cop, a devout Buddhist, and half American, half Thai.

Jitpleecheep works for the seriously corrupt Colonrl Vikorn but manages to do good police work while avoiding becoming personally corrupt in this entertaining and wise series that is deeply colored by the authors knowledge of Thailand and Thai Buddhism.

In this episode Colonel Vikorn is running for offi
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Mal Warwick
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Organ Trafficking, Prostitution, and Drugs in the Underbelly of Asian Society

When I read John Burdett’s first novel, Bangkok 8, I was hooked, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about its fascinating protagonist, the incorruptible Thai homicide detective, Sonchai Jitpleecheep. Bangkok 8 offered up a feast of intimate knowledge about Buddhism as practiced in Thailand, the local brand of animist superstitions, and the corruption that pervades every nook and cranny of Thai society, all revealed in th
Lloyd Lofthouse
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
In Vulture Peak, the fifth installment of John Burdett's Bangkok series, Sonchai is put in charge of a case that has to do with trafficking in human organs where people are being murdered and harvested so the rich and famous can replace their worn out body parts.

Sonchai's boss is Colonel Vikorn, a high-ranking police officer in Bangkok that made his wealth through organized crime. The colonel is running for the mayor of Bangkok. His opponent in the election is General Zinna of the Royal Thai Arm
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Vultures are pecking - and they don't care..., 13. Juni 2013

...if the meal is dead or alive...

This series written by John Burdett is one of my favourites.
I always have to read the new book when it comes out!
The culprits are: The author and his protagonist!

This very intriguing detective, Sonchai Jitpleecheep, created by John Burdett, is at his 5th novel, after Bangkok 8: A Novel (Vintage), Bangkok Tattoo (Vintage), etc...
He is honest and pure, never can be bought. A real Buddhist on the Wheel
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Crossover character in John Burdett novels? 1 12 Dec 16, 2012 09:59PM  
  • Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree #1)
  • Mandarin Gate (Inspector Shan, #7)
  • The Singapore School of Villainy (Inspector Singh Investigates #3)
  • Summertime All the Cats Are Bored
  • Every Last Secret
  • A Nail Through the Heart
  • A Trail of Ink (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #3)
  • Murder on the Île Sordou (Verlaque and Bonnet #4)
  • A Grave in Gaza (Omar Yussef Mystery #2)
  • Grandville Bête Noire (Grandville, #3)
  • Red Light (Merci Rayborn #2)
  • Salt River (Turner, #3)
  • Bangkok Burn (Bangkok Series #1)
  • Kings of Midnight (Crissa Stone, #2)
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)
  • Bangkok Haunts (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #3)
  • The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #4)
  • The Bangkok Asset (Sonchai Jitpleecheep #6)

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“Policing. You think you've got it tough. You don't have any idea how it was when I joined the force. The whole cake was divided down to the last crumb. The big boss got seventy percent, and the portions got smaller as you descended the totem pole. And no complaining. You learned to keep your mouth shut at all times - you wouldn't have survived the first week.

You see, what nobody tells you about capitalism is that its warlordism in disguise. That leaves the only job in the jungle worth having an apex feeder - the rest is slavery at various levels of discomfort. Socially, psychologically, we're still in the rain forest." - Colonel Vikorn”
“Today Chanya is kikiat and won’t be doing any work of any kind. Kikiat is usually translated as “lazy,” which is misleading because of the disfavor into which this vital component of mental health has fallen in the work-frenzied Occident; over here kikiat is not a fault so much as a frank statement of the human condition. To fail to lend a helping hand because you have something more important to do may provoke anger in others, but to fail to perform a chore because you are feeling kikiat will, in all but the most extreme circumstances, meet with an understanding sigh; indeed, the word itself has a kind of pandemic effect, so that one person declaring themselves kikiat can cause a whole office to slow down. You may spend a lot of time over here, DFR, learn our customs, know our history better than we do ourselves, and even speak our language, but until you have penetrated to the very heart of indolence and learned to savor its subtle joy, you cannot claim really to have arrived. Naturally,” 0 likes
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