Synopses & Reviews
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 callyou 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.
There was nothing for it but to secure the room for the purposes of forensic investigation, leave a hefty bribe for the hotel receptionist--who is now more or less obliged to say whatever I tell him to say (standard procedure under my Colonel Vikorn in District 8)--and await further orders. Vikorn, of course, was in one of his clubs carousing, probably surrounded by naked young women who adored him, or knew how to look as if they did, and in no mood to be dragged to the scene of a crime until I penetrated his drunken skull enough to explain that the business at hand was not an investigation per se but the infinitely more challenging forensic task so lightly spoken of as a cover-up. Even then he showed no inclination to shift himself until he realized it was Chanya (the perp, not the victim).
Where the hell did she get the opium? my mother wants to know. There hasn't been opium in Krung Thep since I was a teenager.
"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)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Burdett] made that world so vivid and fascinating in Bangkok 8 that a sequel seemed risky could he do it again, and create another plot as astounding as the one that drove the first book? He could, and in Bangkok Tattoo he has." St. Petersburg Times
"Open Bangkok Tattoo and you will read on and on, with wide-eyed fascination, some horror or disgust and considerable delight....By turns sordid, disorienting and, at its heart, accepting and good-natured about our flawed human condition, Bangkok Tattoo is as seductive as Chanya, Nat, Marly, Lalita or any of the other girls at The Old Man's Club. And that's saying something." Washington Post
"[An] outrageous yet bizarrely tender follow-up to Bangkok 8." Booklist
"An original, imaginative thriller....Burdett writes like a dark angel." Chicago Tribune
From the author of Bangkok 8
("The wildest ride in modern crime novel exoticum" James Ellroy), 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, one of the best at The Old Man's Club, jointly owned by Sonchai's mother and his boss, Police Colonel Vikorn. 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 at 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 pit-falls of his own melting heart (Chanya!) most of which he can handle. But even Sonchai is not prepared for what he discovers in the minds and in the homes of a certain group of men at the end of his investigation.
Piercingly smart and funny, densely atmospheric, and as we already know to expert from John Burdett with a surprise at every turn, Bangkok Tatto is sensational.
From the author of Bangkok 8 comes a head-spinning new novel that puts readers back in the company of the inimitable Royal Thai Police detective, Sonchai Jitpleecheep.
Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep of the Royal Thai Police returns in his riveting and smokily atmospheric new thriller.
A farang–a foreigner–has been murdered, his body horribly mutilated, at the Bangkok brothel co-owned by Sonchai’s mother and his boss. The dead man was a CIA agent. To make matters worse, the apparent culprit is sweet-natured Chanya, the brothel’s top earner and a woman whom the devoutly Buddhist sleuth has loved for several lifetimes.
How can Sonchai solve this crime without sending Chanya to prison? How can he engage in a cover-up without endangering his karma? And how will he ever get to the bottom of a case whose interested parties include American spooks, Muslim fundamentalists, and gangsters from three countries?
As addictive as opium, as hot as Sriracha chili sauce, and bursting with surprises, Bangkok Tattoo will leave its mark on you.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
John Burdett is a nonpracticing lawyer who worked in Hong Kong for a British firm until he found his true vocation as a writer. Since then, he has lived in France and Spain and is now back in Hong Kong. He is the author of Bangkok 8, A Personal History of Thirst, and The Last Six Million Seconds.
When the mutilated body of a CIA agent is discovered in District 8 and the killer appears to be a local working girl, Sonchai searches for the truth amid a cover-up orchestrated by his boss, Police Colonel Vikorn, involving Al Qaeda, bad cops, military intrigue, and a cadre of dangerous men. By the author of Bangkok 8. 100,000 first printing.
About the Author
Dai Sijie is a Chinese-born filmmaker and novelist who has lived and worked in France since 1984. His first novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress,
was an overnight sensation; it spent twenty-three weeks on the New York Times
From the Trade Paperback edition.