First things first: all my caveats about this series from my review of Bangkok Tattoo still apply (book is written as the perspective of an easterner by a westerner). Everything in this series needs to be taken with that grain of salt.
Still…wow. This book messed with my mind.
In each of these tales, Burdett reaches for a complex plot, weaving in Buddhist theology and observations about life in Thailand and the eastern Pacific rim in general. Here, you could see a writer who is completely comfortable with his style and who doesn’t mind letting the plot run a fly pattern down field because he’s gonna deliver the ball there eventually. But while said ball is in the air, Burdett takes every opportunity to keep the reader unbalanced with the lead and the characters he is involved with.
I’ve written in other places how murdered/mutilated women is usually a non-starter for me in mystery books and am only reading this one because it’s a continuation of a series I like. But the way Burdett has that unfold is genuinely surprising. There’s really not much I can say without spoiling anything. And even after it all, I’m still not sure I approve. But like its predecessors, the quality of this book allows me to forgive the author’s potential insensitivities.
Like its predecessors, Burdett has a habit of dumping pages of expository dialogue near the very end, which is annoying. Also, there wasn’t as much Bangkok as I would have liked; he seemed to want to speak more on Cambodia and its relationship to Thailand. Still, these are quibbles. This was a mindfreak of a book and I love this series.