I don’t normally do crime novels, but this was a beaut.

Bangkok 8 is the tale of a Bangkok detective attempting to uncover the killer of an American Marine. It’s a tale of mystery, the sex trade, drugs, corruption, and humidity. And it rolls along beautifully.

The novel was a recommendation from a friend in Malaysia, and it strikes me as being about as accurate a depiction of the life of a Buddhist cop as you could except from a farang writer (“foreigner”). In particular, there was a lot of description of how a Buddhist should or does contemplate issues and my “cultural authenticity” alarms were ringing. But, hey, it’s a great story.

What Burdett does well is describe the swelter and glamour of Bangkok without any patronisation or titillation,  something not easy to do. He also gives the characters a lot of depth, but without over-writing them.

It’s a great read, and well-recommended.

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