Burdett’s Bangkok series is dark, but Vulture Peak is much more twisted than the others. Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep of the Royal Thai Police is ordered by his powerful superior, Colonel Vikom, to investigate a triple murder in a luxurious villa on Vulture Peak, a steep hill above the seaside town of Phuket.
Sonchai realizes that this investigation is linked to Vikom’s stated intention of wiping out trafficking in body parts, part of his campaign for governor of Bangkok. But Sonchai is puzzled by two things: he has never heard before that Thailand is a center of trafficking for body parts and he doesn’t understand why Vikom wants to be governor. Still, it is certainly true that the three bodies have been harvested of every possible organ, including their faces.
Sonchai believes the murders are connected to a trip he took at Colonel Vikom’s command a few weeks before, during which he was posing as an organ merchant. He was dispatched to Dubai to meet Lily and Polly Yip, a pair of Chinese twins who are rich, spoiled, and very odd–and engaged in organ trafficking.
Soon Sonchai is enmeshed in a complicated case that involves trips to Hong Kong and Shanghai, possible involvement of Colonel Vikom’s biggest rival General Zinna, a wandering lunatic with a badly disfigured face who is raping women in Bangkok, and a schizophrenic Chinese cop.
As usual, the pace is fast, the atmosphere is edgy, the characters are interesting, and the insight into Thai and Buddhist culture fascinating.