THE LIFE, WORK AND CHRONICLES OF JEFF KOYEN: REFORMED ITINERANT, OCCASIONAL WRITER AND FRIEND TO ALMOST ALL DOGS

Bangkok Tattoo
By John Burdett
Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep -- devout Buddhist, loyal son to his pimping mother, the only honest cop in Bangkok -- has a peculiar fondness, but little love, for Western culture. When a CIA agent is found castrated and skinned -- presumably by Chanya, one of Jitpleecheep's mother's best "bar girls"he sniffs at American influence:
"The flaying...that gratuitous extra, can only come from a society with a large, wealthy and bored middle class."
This assumption in hand, Jitpleecheep sets out to protect his beloved Chanya and also uncover the truth -- which gets complicated, fast.
Bangkok Tattoo is a tight-enough, suspenseful-enough follow-up to Bangkok 8; taken together, they are the perfect budding crime-fiction franchise for people who don't really like crime fiction. With Jitpleecheep's view of our culture, round-eye Burdett may upset xenophobic Americans; he may also offend Thais with presumptions about theirs. Fair enough then.
At least he's not churning out third-grade level potboilers. Dan Brown, anyone?