Bangkok 8 by John Burdett

#54 in my book challenge for the year is a re-read of one of my favorites from last year, Bangkok 8, in preparation for the sequel, Bangkok Tattoo. I have the mistaken impression that re-reading will help me slow down and savor books. Knowing the ending helps me recognize all the clues are in place, but I think it also abets me in going through a book faster, since I don’t pause to puzzle things out. It’s a Buddhist noir murder mystery about a Thai policeman out to avenge his partner’s death. The atmosphere and sense of place are stunningly well drawn, while the asides about Buddhist practice and Thai culture are fascinating and mind-opening. I’m sure some could argue convincingly that the author goes light on the sex trade and its implications for women. My guilt over enjoying it in spite of its unPCness may lead me to track down a book on prostitution in Asia, Casting Stones.

The weird thing that bothered me about this book was the page numbers. Not only are they in a barely legible font, they’re at the top only on odd pages that don’t start a chapter. I would much prefer to have legible page numbers in the bottom margin on every page.

Another weird thing is that Drake loves to pull this book off the shelf. I don’t know if it’s the bright pink cover, or the snake, or the big number 8, but he goes after this book all the time.

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