From the author of the best seller Bangkok 8, a head-spinning new novel that puts us back in the company of the inimitable Royal Thai Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep.We return to District 8-the underbelly of Bangkok's underworld-where a dramatically mutilated dead body is found. It's bad: he was CIA. It gets worse: the murderer appears to be Chanya-a tough, sweet working girl who's the highest earner at The Old Man's Club, jointly owned by Sonchai's mother and his boss, Police Colonel Vikorn.Alerted by Sonchai, Vikorn quickly concocts a cover-up that involves Al Qaeda and Thailand's porous southern border where, since 9/11, the CIA has been an obviously covert presence. But the truth will be harder to come by, and it will require Sonchai to find an ever-more-delicate balance between his ambition and his Buddhism, while running the gamut of Bangkok's drug dealers, prostitutes, bad cops, worse military, and the pitfalls of his own melting heart (Chanya!)-most of which he can handle. But even Sonchai is not prepared for what he discovers at the end of his investigation.Piercingly smart and funny, densely atmospheric, and-as we already know to expect from John Burdett-packing a surprise at every turn, Bangkok Tattoo is sensational.
In Burdett's brilliantly cynical mystery thriller, the follow-up to Bangkok 8 (2004), Royal Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is called in by his supervisor, hard-bitten Captain Vikorn, to investigate the murder of a CIA operative, Mitch Turner, found disemboweled and mutilated. The prime suspect is a beautiful bar girl, Chanya, with whom Sonchai believes himself to be in love. When Turner's murder turns out to be far more complicated than originally thought, Sonchai must deal with his boss's rages and Chanya's gradually revealed secrets, along with CIA agents who have come to investigate the crime, a Thai army general with whom Vikorn has been feuding for years, Yakuza gangsters, Japanese tattooists, Muslim fundamentalists and more. Thoroughly familiar with Thailand, Burdett does an impressive job of depicting an often romanticized society from the inside out. His characters are unforgettable, his dialogue fast-paced and perfectly pitched, his numerous asides and observations generally as cutting as they are funny. Agent, Jane Gelfman. 9-city author tour. (May 16) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 09, 2005
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Excerpt from Bangkok Tattoo by John Burdett
Killing customers just isn ' t good for business. '
My mother Nong ' s tone reflects the disappointment we all feel when a star employee starts to go wrong. Is there nothing to be done Will we have to let dear Chanya go The question can only be decided by Police Colonel Vikorn, who owns most of the shares in the Old Man ' s Club and who is on his way in his Bentley.
' No, ' I agree. Like my mother ' s, my eyes cannot stop flicking across the empty bar to the stool where Chanya ' s flimsy silver dress (just enough silk to cover nipples and butt) drapes and drips. Well, the dripping was slight and is more or less finished (a rusty stain on the floor turning black as it dries), but in more than a decade as a detective in the Royal Thai Police, I have never seen a garment so blood-soaked. Chanya ' s bra, also hideously splattered, lies halfway up the stairs, and her panties ' her only other garment ' lie abandoned on the floor outside the upstairs room where, eccentrically even for a Thai whore, she has taken refuge with an opium pipe.
' She didn ' t say anything at all Like why '
' No, I told you. She dashed in through the door in a bit of a state holding an opium pipe, glared at me, said, ' I ' ve done him in, ' ripped off her dress, and disappeared upstairs. Fortunately, there were only a couple of farang in the bar at the time, and the girls were fantastic. They merely said, ' Oh, Chanya, she goes like that sometimes, ' and gently ushered them out. I had to play the whole thing down, of course, and by the time I got to her room, she was already stoned. '
' What did she say again '
' She was tripping on the opium, totally delirious. When she started talking to the Buddha, I left to call you and the Colonel. At that stage I didn ' t know if she ' d really done him in or was freaking out on yaa baa or something. '
But she ' d snuffed him all right. I walked to the farang ' s hotel, which is just a couple of streets away from Soi Cowboy, and flashed my police ID to get the key to his room. There he was, a big muscular naked American farang in his early thirties, minus a penis and a lot of blood from a huge knife wound that began in his lower gut and finished just short of his rib cage. Chanya, a basically decent and very tidy Thai, had placed his penis on the bedside table. At the other end of the table, a single rose stood in a plastic mug of water.