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John Burdett books in order

John Burdett is a British national bestselling author of crime fiction novels.

He is best known for writing the Bangkok 8 (2003), the first book in the Sonchai Jitpleecheep series, and its sequels.

Born in England, Burdett practiced law in London and Hong Kong for 14 years before retiring in order to focus on writing full time.

The author currently divides his time between Bangkok and Southwest France, having previously lived in Spain, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

More about John Burdett

Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery

Born: 1951

United Kingdom

Non Series

  • A Personal History of Thirst (1996)
  • The Last Six Million Seconds (1996)


  1. Freedom Angel (2011)
  2. Death Effect (2017)

Sonchai Jitpleecheep

  1. Bangkok 8 (2003)
  2. Bangkok Tattoo (2005)
  3. Bangkok Haunts (2007)
  4. The Godfather of Kathmandu (2009)
  5. Vulture Peak (2011)
  6. The Bangkok Asset (2015)

Detailed book overview

Non Series

A Personal History of Thirst

Ambitious London lawyer James Knight, a prosperous solicitor, has denied his lower-class background and carefully molded his public image in order to climb the social and professional ladder of the British legal system. He will soon "take silk"—become a Queen's counsel barrister, the highest rank a lawyer can obtain.

More than decade earlier, however, James had lived on the fringe of acceptable society and rigid British ethics during his years at university, experimenting with sex and drugs in a passionate love affair with a stunning and brilliant American named Daisy Smith.

James's life takes an unexpected turn early in his career when he meets a client—an accused thief named Oliver Thirst—for a drink and a chat in a pub. Although they could not be more different, James is drawn to Thirst's high intelligence and wit. Soon their illicit friendship develops into a dark and erotic ménage á trois with Daisy at the center.

Now, eleven years later, one is dead and two are suspected of murder. The murder investigation at the center of this impossible-to-put-down novel uncovers the bizarre love story between the barrister, the American, and the thief. And, in the end, A Personal History of Thirst answers the question: What happens when genuine love becomes mixed with perverse obsession?

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-0340660805
Publisher: Coronet Books
The Last Six Million Seconds

It is April 1997, and all of Hong Kong is counting down to July 1, when Britain will hand over rule of the country to China. Public anxiety about the transfer of power is running high, but “Charlie” Chan Siu-kai’s biggest concern is a gruesome triple murder case, with no solid leads. 

Chan, a half-Chinese, half-Irish Hong Kong native and chief inspector with the Royal Hong Kong police, thinks he’s found a breakthrough when three mutilated heads are found floating in Chinese waters. But he grows increasingly frustrated as the Chinese police actively hinder—and the English bureaucrats pointedly ignore—his investigation. 

As Chan tracks the killers, he discovers cover-ups and conspiracies running deeper than even he had imagined. All the while, in the background, the clock ticks down to the day the British leave ...

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-0307745293
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard


Freedom Angel

After a painful breakup with her fiance, Angel travels on a whim to Thailand. A chance meeting on a plane with a mysterious stranger leads to an erotic journey that awakens her to a life she never imagined possible.

On the surface, Hank is a proper English businessman, a wealthy man who resides in the tropics. But as Angel enters his world, she finds there is more to him than she ever thought she wanted. Does she have the courage and inner strength to live a thoroughly unconventional but fulfilling life, or will she run back to the safety of what she’s always known?

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2011
Ebook: B005F0KKOG
Publisher: Ai Press
Death Effect

Doing very bad things for very good reasons…

Sheriff Jack Gatt is the least eligible (read: least desirable) bachelor in Etowah County, Alabama, especially to Medical Examiner Bethany Lee Brown, who has done all she can to avoid his slobbering desire for her. That is, until he makes her a proposal…or two…she really can’t refuse. What is it that has Bethany shift in an instant from repulsion for the unshaven, lout Gatt to irresistible lust for him and…a darkly odd partnership that neither of them could resist if their very lives and careers depended on it?

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2017
Ebook: B06Y5HNKXN
Publisher: Kokoro Press

Sonchai Jitpleecheep

Bangkok 8

Witnessed by a throng of gaping spectators, a charismatic Marine sergeant is murdered under a Bangkok bridge inside a bolted-shut Mercedes Benz. Among the witnesses are the only two cops in the city not on the take, but within moments one is murdered and his partner, Sonchai Jitpleecheep—a devout Buddhist and the son of a Thai bar girl and a long-gone Vietnam War G.I.—is hell-bent on wreaking revenge. 

On a vigilante mission to capture his partner’s murderer, Sonchai is begrudgingly paired with a beautiful FBI agent named Jones and captures her heart in the process. In a city fueled by illicit drugs and infinite corruption, prostitution and priceless art, Sonchai’s quest for vengeance takes him into a world much more sinister than he could have ever imagined.

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-1400032907
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Bangkok Tattoo

A farang–a foreigner–has been murdered, his body horribly mutilated, at the Bangkok brothel co-owned by Sonchai’s mother and his boss. 

The dead man was a CIA agent. To make matters worse, the apparent culprit is sweet-natured Chanya, the brothel’s top earner and a woman whom the devoutly Buddhist sleuth has loved for several lifetimes. 

How can Sonchai solve this crime without sending Chanya to prison? How can he engage in a cover-up without endangering his karma? And how will he ever get to the bottom of a case whose interested parties include American spooks, Muslim fundamentalists, and gangsters from three countries?

 As addictive as opium, as hot as Sriracha chili sauce, and bursting with surprises, Bangkok Tattoo will leave its mark on you.

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-1400032914
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Bangkok Haunts

Sonchai has seen virtually everything on his beat in Bangkok's District 8, but nothing like the video he's just been sent anonymously: “Few crimes make us fear for the evolution of our species. I am watching one right now.”

He's watching a snuff film. And the person dying before his disbelieving eyes is Damrong—a woman he once loved obsessively and, now it becomes clear, endlessly. And there is something more: something at the end of the film that leaves Sonchai both figuratively and literally haunted.

While his investigation will lead him through the office of the ever-scheming police captain, Vikorn (“Don't spoil a great case with too much perfectionism,” he advises Sonchai); in and out of the influence of a perhaps psychotic wandering monk; and eventually into the gilded rooms of the most exclusive men's club in Bangkok (whose members will do anything to protect their identities, and to explore their most secret fantasies), it also leads him to his own simple bedroom where he sleeps next to his pregnant wife while his dreams deliver him up to Damrong ...

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2007
ISBN: 978-1400097067
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The Godfather of Kathmandu

A rich American film director has been murdered. It is an intriguing case, and solving it could lead to a promotion for Sonchai, but, as always, he is far more concerned with the state of his karma than he is with his status in the earthly realm. 

To complicate matters his boss, Colonel Vikorn, has decided to make Sonchai his consigliere in a heroin smuggling operation. Sonchai travels to Kathmandu to meet Vikorn's connection Tietsin, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and falls under the sway of this dark and charismatic guru.

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-1400097074
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
Vulture Peak

Nobody knows Bangkok like Royal Thai Police Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, but now he is heading out of his comfort zone. Way out. 

Assigned to the highest-profile case in all Thailand, he is tasked with ending international human-organ trafficking. His hunt will lead him across five countries and will draw in a host of unwitting players, including an aging rock star wearing out his second liver, and his quarry, twin Chinese queenpins of the international body-parts trade known as the Vultures.  

Meanwhile, there are rumors at home that Sonchai’s wife is having an affair. Although he has always known about her disreputable past, this is something else entirely. Confronting the rumors—and controlling his jealousy—while embroiled in the most contentious case of his career may well be more than this detective’s Buddhist soul can handle.

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-0307474292
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
The Bangkok Asset

For one thing, the victim has been beheaded in a bizarre manner, and for another, a message was left in blood. Then Sonchai is summoned to a river in the middle of the night to observe a spectacle that violates everything he holds dear as a Thai, as a Buddhist, and as a human being.

A trail of breadcrumbs has been carefully laid out for him, but by whom? Sonchai’s search for answers takes him deep into the Cambodian jungle, where he faces a conspiracy that may implicate the American CIA and the Chinese military—and discovers exactly how far a government will go to protect its worst secrets.

Author: John Burdett
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-0307474308
Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard