John Burdett – yet another lawyer living the John Grisham dream. I’m not familiar enough with either man to say who first chucked the law in favor of novels, but, for his sake, I’m glad John Burdett did. You can tell he has a ball living this life.
With sex workers driving the story, the liberal use of Thai slang, and an unreliable narrator, this is the kind of book that could be really, really bad. On the whole, however, it is pretty enjoyable, and I’ll probably follow up with others in the series at some point.
Justifying the tag – this falls into the heroin category by dint of the inclusion of morphine and opium dealers, and opium smokers, in the plot.
Sonchai and other characters mount an ongoing, though not always overt, defense of the Thai sex trade throughout the book. I don’t buy it completely, but in the spirit of the warped but earnest Buddhism of Sonchai, I can let go of my own issues with it while I’m in the book. I’ll post at a later date about my feelings, thoughts, and questions about the Thai sex trade. Ultimately, I don’t feel guilty enjoying Burdett’s Bangkok books, but I do think Nicholas Kristoff probably has a more accurate read on the whole situation.