By Jennifer Reese
Updated June 01, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Pensive detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep is back, regaling us with lurid tales of Bangkok brothels, opining endlessly on the West (“It’s a culture of hypocrisy…”), and tackling another grisly murder in the third installment of John Burdett’s saucy series. The victim: Sonchai’s former lover, Damrong, an enigmatic hooker who is snuffed in a snuff movie. Burdett’s lavish descriptions of the Thai sex trade, so fresh in the first Sonchai novel, have grown a bit wearisome, often coming at the expense of the plot. But when he sends Sonchai into the hard-up countryside to meet Damrong’s family and prunes back the juvenile asides, Bangkok Haunts does, in fact, haunt. B

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