Grandad, There's A Head On The Beach: A Jimm Juree Novel
- Quercus Publishing Plc
- Publication Date:
- 29 March 2012
- Crime, Thrillers and Mystery
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Colin Cotterill is a master at teaching his readers a little about his stomping grounds in SE Asia while giving us interesting characters and a mystery or two to boot.In this series, Jimm Juree, a ex-crime writer, is marooned in a small, rundown beach resort in Thailand with her mother, her body-building brother, and her grandfather, an ex-traffic police officer. It is monsoon season with heavy rains and on-shore winds that blow garbage up on their beach. While walking their dogs one morning, Jimm comes upon a head. Sensing she may have been gifted with a story worthy of being published, she contacts the police and is then confronted with the extremely odd system of how bodies are handled in Thailand, graft is involved.The lesson we are taught, along with Jimm, is the problem of Burmese immigrants who, like our own Mexicans, take the worst jobs for the worst pay, but unlike our Mexicans, receive no education for their children or health care. Frequently they are abducted off the street and taken to large fishing vessels, worked to death, and discarded like a worn pair of shoes, to be washed up on the beach. Jimm is irate by this shameful practice and spearheads an attack. I recommend this book to fans of mysteries that take place in foreign settings with a wonderful cast of characters.
"Granddad" is the 2nd in Colin Cotterill's Jimm Juree series, about a journalist/detective and her wacky family living in a beach resort south of Bangkok. The head is found early on in the story and there is little interest in identifying it. But Jimm plunges on, while getting mixed up in another mystery concerning two of their guests, a young woman and her mother, both named Noy - who appear to be hiding out. Jimm becomes involved with the local Burmese community in the course of her investigation, neighbors who are looked down upon by their Thai hosts, and consequently relegated to the most menial of jobs. All this leads to slavery, murder, and adventure on the high seas. Without revealing much more, I'll just add that the internet plays a very integral and somewhat unique role in the grand finale. There are tons of cute and sometimes funny one-liners here, perhaps a bit too much at times. But the central issue is a serious one, and the reader will probably come away with a better understanding of life in this part of the world, warts and all. I'll read the 3rd in the series and look forward to it.
The second in the Jimm Juree series (as distinct form the author's other great creation, Laos-based Dr. Siri), this is yet another wonderful, entertaining, humour-full, fast-paced mystery read from Cotterill. Jimm, the Thai female main character, is a feisty, smart, fun character, and the supporting cast are equally colourful. I love how Thailand itself is intrinsic to the story, as Laos is in the Dr. Siri series. Plot as ever is so well done, looking forward as ever to the author's next.
<i>Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach</i> is the second title in Colin Cotterill’s new Thailand mystery series starring crime reporter Jimm Juree. In Grandad Jimm has left Bangkok and is helping her mother, grandfather and brother run a rundown resort on the Thai coast when she finds a severed human head washed up on the beach nearby. Jimm cannot accept the cursory explanations of the local police and begins using her contacts to investigate this bizarre event.The plot of <i>Grandad</i> is not so much a mystery as a vehicle for painting a colorful picture of modern Thailand with its culture clash of royal, peasant, native and immigrant populations residing in bustling cities and backwater villages. The narrative also focuses on the native prejudice against the illegal Burmese immigrants and the abuse they are forced to endure. The profusion of odd characters, enhanced by Jimm’s observations, include (but are certainly not limited to) a gay police lieutenant, a mother-daughter duo traveling incognito, a mangy dog, and a sister?? who can hack just about any computer system to get information for Jimm’s investigation. Adding to Jimm’s often facetious commentary are the corrupted verses from popular songs of the 60s and 70s that head each chapter. Eventually this strange tale culminates in a hysterically funny showdown on the high seas between a determined and fearless Jimm with her assorted “deputies” and a crew of organized kidnappers that is well worth the price of the sometimes plodding narrative. Fans of Carl Hiasson will feel right at home in this crazy, hilarious romp set on the coast of the country formerly known as Siam. The narrator of the audio version, Kim Mai Guest, has an Asian accent that is almost too pleasant; It’s easy to become lulled by her voice and lose focus on the narrative. Also, the large array of characters means listeners should to pay close attention to names and relationships at the start to avoid confusion later.
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