Asia,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  FOUR STARS ****,  Mystery,  Suspense

Bangkok Haunts by John Burdett **** ( of 4)

It’s difficult to write a series of detective stories with the same cop in the same location and not get stale. Burdett, now writing book number three, gets better, rather than repetitive. He is more comfortable and relaxed filling out the Buddhist Thai policeman, Sonchai Jiptleecheep, who may be the only son of a prostitute and brothel owner in Bangkok who is also the only honest cop in the country. In addition to learning about Thailand, Buddhism, the difference between Asian and Western ways of thought, Burdett does the best job of anyone I’ve read in humanizing the sex industry. The prostitutes and transsexuals that traverse his books are regular people with good days and bad, friendly and voluble, or tired and grouchy. That said, the mystery in Bangkok Haunts is good enough; the story line, however,and the characters that inhabit it are irresistable. June 2008.