Review Blog

Aug 03 2012

Grandad, there's a head on the beach by Colin Cotterill

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Quercus, 2012. ISBN 978 0 8573 8709 7.
I would recommend this book for secondary students. Jimm Juree is out walking on the beach in the Thai fishing village where she lives when she discovers a human head. She immediately goes to tell her grandfather who is a retired policeman even though he was only a traffic policeman.
What unfolds gives a glimpse of life in Thailand away from the usual tourist haunts. It involves piracy, human trafficking, violence and corruption. Jimm is determined to solve the murder and enlists a varied group of unlikely people to help her. These range from members of her dysfunctional family, to one of the few police who is not corrupt. All the characters are well done, even if larger than life but the story moves along, giving an interesting and different look at Thailand, such as the fact that the Thais look down on the Burmese to such an extent that they are prepared to turn a blind eye to the way they are treated and abused by people smugglers.
This book can be read on various levels from a straight detective story albeit with diverse and colourful characters, or at the deeper level giving a glimpse of Thai life with its endemic corruption.
David Rayner

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