Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bangkok Tatoo - John Burdett (Bangkok Series #2)

I read the first book in this series, Bangkok 8, a couple years ago after returning from Thailand. I loved reading the streotypical corrupt cop story set in the bustling center of Bangkok, with all the excitement and strangeness that city has to offer. Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is back in this second installment, set against the backdrop of the Soi Cowboy bar/brothel co-owned by his mother and Vikorn, the Chief of Police. When their most popular sex worker is suspected of murdering an American CIA agent, Sonchai is thrust deeper into Bangkok's seedy underbelly, and forced to negotiate with drug dealers and military, all the while pitting his Buddhist sensitivities against those of a sect of Thai Muslims. Sonchai finds himself acting out of character due to love, and hunting down a mysterious Japanese tattoo artist who holds all the secrets. The corruption in Sonchai's police force (including his own) is unapologetically shocking, and his efforts to reconcile his behavior with his religion are almost comical. Yet, he remains a truly likeable protagonist, and I found myself rooting for him - in terms of solving the crime and getting the woman. Burdett tells a good story with the requisite twists and turns, and even once you think the murder is solved, there are still many more surprises ahead. This is great travel/airplane/pass the time reading. I know the 4th in this series was recently released, so I'm looking forward to more Sonchai in my reading future.

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