By John Burdett
Vintage Books 14.95 304 pages
“’Ever hear of cloud policing?’”
Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is back in John Burdett’s fifth and latest installment of the popular Royal Thai police series, Vintage Crime – Black Lizard Original with a story torn from the headlines. On the orders of his unrelentingly corrupt superior who is now also running for Governor, Colonel Vikorn, Sonchai is sent to an opulent mansion in the resort community of Phuket to investigate a triple homicide. The young Buddhist detective is soon embroiled in a complex human organ trafficking scheme that takes him to Dubai, Monte Carlo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Along the way, he comes into contact with the evil and insane Yip twins who harvest and sell organ transplants to the highest bidder. In the meantime, Sonchai’s marriage to an ex-bar girl and current sociology student may be on the rocks, his transgendered assistant continues in his sex-change process, and Westerners (farangs) flock to Soi Cowboy, the red-light district of Bangkok.
Burdett’s writing is sharp and solid, capturing the different facets of each character and Thailand itself with skill and style. For fans of the series, as well as new readers, this book will not disappoint.
Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen