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Posted by on Oct 10, 2012 in Guest Post, Travel |

Bangkok 8: A Book Review

Have you ever watched a Thai ping-pong show?

“We didn’t want to go, at first,” two young English women told me, “but then we decided it was better to support local jobs.”  Both giggled, whether at the ingenuity of this comment, or the concept of women paid to shoot plastic balls out of their nether parts, I do not know.

The stereotypes of Thailand – its sex industry, cross-ethnic match-making and lurid underworld – are elements of the country that trouble every traveler.  Do we embrace, accept or abhor?

This is the conflicting scene that Burdett skillfully addresses in his nonfiction mystery, Bangkok 8.

When the murder of a U.S. Marine inadvertently leads to the death of  Sonchai’s police partner, his search for vengeance will lead him to question the blend and clash of Western and Eastern influences ruling the city.  Sonchai, a detective with the training of a Buddhist monk, explores backstreets and conundrums, eventually connecting his spirituality to a new understanding of  the red light culture.

Burdett’s novel will resonate with anyone who has spent more than 24 hours in this florescent, obnoxious, surprising, overwhelming urban sprawl.  Bangkok is a thousand things, and only a resident, like Burdett, could attempt to capture the sounds, colors and complexities that characterize it.

This is a book review by Kelli Mutchler on Bangkok 8 written by John Burdett and published by Vanity Books.

Writer Kelli Mutchler is a free-footed American, swapped at birth with a responsible, hard-working accountant. Tired of reading foreign postcards, her parents still lament this accidental switch… Yet Kelli left all those expectations in South Dakota, USA, to prove that Yanks CAN – and DO – pursue alternative, international lifestyles. Whether it’s long-term backpacking or a working holiday visa; playing the funeral organ or organic farming; serving pizzas or teaching English, Kelli rarely says “No” to a new opportunity. A regular contributor and writer for YouthLeader! magazine and WeBlogTheWorld, she’s probably just like you: a bit of a freelancer who refuses to stop at anything short of a full passport and a PULITZER. This book review originally appeared on her blog Too Much for Words.