Daily Archives: April 30, 2011

The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett

The Godfather of kathmandu Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Royal Thai detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is one of crime literature’s most exotic, strangest, and coolest protagonist, and he’s back in John Burdett’s latest suspenseful, page-turning, soul- searching, and humorous novel yet, The Godfather of Kathmandu. When he is confronted with the most shocking crime of his career, will his spiritual side win out, or his cop one? The murder case he works on, investigating the death of a rich American film director, could mean a promotion for him–but, how important is that, when compared to the state of one’s karma? Sonchai accepts his boss’s (Colonel Vikorn’s) offer to be his consigliere in a heroin smuggling operation, but how can he reconcile this with his striving to be a good Buddhist? The Godfather of Kathmandu is the fourth novel by John Burdett to feature the Royal Thai detective Jitpleecheep, and one of the best so far.

How gruesome is the murder of the obese American director, Frank Charles? The murderer is influenced by Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and Thomas Harris’ novels The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, all of which are found at the murder scene on a bookshelf in a flophouse where Charles has taken a hooker. He’s been disemboweled “with a single careful incision from solar plexus to lower abdomen.” Also, the top of his head has been removed by a rotary saw and then replaced, but not until after a portion of his brain has been removed and eaten by the murderer. Not exactly the kinky evening of sex he’d been anticipating…..