By John Burdett
In John Burdett's Vulture Peak, Buddhist detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep returns for the fifth time, thrust into a case that takes him across borders and brings him face to face with the scourge of black-market organ sales. Recently reviewed: The Godfather of Kathmandu (**** Mar/ Apr 2010).
THE STORY: In an exclusive enclave of Phuket, Thailand, known as Vulture Peak, three bodies are found stripped of their useful parts. At the behest of his supervisor Vikorn, a ruthless, politically ambitious colonel in the Royal Thai Police, Bangkok detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep takes the case. Traveling to Dubai, Monte Carlo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to crack the widening organs-for-profit ring, his efforts are thwarted and his life endangered by the usual panoply (in author John Burdett's world) of eccentric (read: sociopathic) characters, including ravishing, sadistic identical twin sisters from China who play Russian roulette and keep their own collection of body parts.
Knopf. 304 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 9780307272676
NY Journal of Books ****
"For the virgin John Burdett reader, discovering the characters that populate his Bangkok is an unrivaled pleasure. ... Vulture Peak is a modern morality tale with all the requisite bells and whistles and much more: a salutary warning for the Internet age." A. J. KIRBY
New York Times ****
"John Burdett's hallucinatory novels set in Thailand tend to open on surpassingly gruesome crime scenes. ... Though not for the faint of heart, the 'surreal, exotic, rich'--and quite crazy--world Sonchai inhabits is a classic head trip." MARILYN STASIO
Washington Post ****
"Vulture Peak upholds the high standards set by its predecessors. Readers who know the first four novels will be delighted to have a fifth, and others coming to Burdett's Bangkok for the first time will quickly find themselves in a place that may seem mysteriously alien but positively teems with humanity." JONATHAN YARDLEY
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ****
"Even when the Sonchai novels flag--this one isn't quite up to...