Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

#59 in my book challenge for the year. This book had some serious wow factors. It is a noir cop novel set in Bangkok. The main character is a Buddhist who uses meditation as a detection method, and can see the past lives of those around him. Several times I paused in reading and thought, this book is really cool. There is murder, corruption, drugs, and a damsel who may or may not be in distress. The book covers lots of ground–east/west culture clash, a few short but stunning passages on Thai food, and the complex situational ethics of Bangkok prostitution. The main character of Sonchai is one of the most compelling I’ve read. The ending is somewhat vague. Some might find it frustrating, but I thought it balanced well, karmically. It’s not nice and tidy like a typical American detective novel, but it’s not inconsistent with the rest of the book, which is pleasantly different from a typical American detective novel.

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