At the start of Burdett’s superb third mystery-thriller to feature Thai police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep (after Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo), Jitpleecheep shows old friend Kimberley Jones, an American FBI agent, a vicious snuff film he’s received depicting the murder of an ex-lover of his named Damrong.

Jitpleecheep and Jones maintain their complex platonic relationship as, helped by Jitpleecheep’s assistant Lek, they pursue Damrong’s killers. The trail leads them to an important banker, an American teacher, a Buddhist and an exclusive men’s club called the Parthenon. Jitpleecheep, who now lives with Chanya, a former prostitute pregnant with his child, is visited in an erotic way by Damrong’s ghost, while his corrupt superior, police colonel Vikorn, orders Jitpleecheep to help start a porn film business.

Expertly juggling elements that in lesser hands would become confused or hackneyed, Burdett has created a haunting, powerful story that transcends genre.

Extract: Chapter 1

Few crimes make us fear for the evolution of our species. I am watching one right now. In a darkened room in the District 8 Police Station with my good friend FBI agent Kimberley Jones, a forty-two inch Toshiba LCD monitor hangs high up on a wall, out of the reach of villains.

The video which I’m sharing with the FBI uses two industrial quality cameras which between them seamlessly provide all the tricks of zoom, angle, pan et cetera and I am told that at least two technicians must have been involved. The colors are excellent thanks to however many millions of pixels which contribute to their subtle shading; we are looking at a product of high civilization unknown to our forefathers. At the end of the movie, though, tough guy Kimberley bursts into tears, as I’d rather hoped she would. I did. She turns her head to stare at me wild eyed.

“Tell me it isn’t real.”

“We have the body,” I say.

“Oh god,” Kimberley says. “Oh sweet Jesus, I’ve seen things bloodier, but never anything this daemonic. I thought I’d seen everything.” She stands up. “I need air.”