Exploding grenades, Burmese slaves and, yes, a head on the beach. How much excitement can one tiny Thai town take?
Highly engaging narrator Jimm Juree still stings from the abrupt relocation of her family to a run-down town on the Gulf of Siam after she's worked many years as a crime reporter in the bustling university city of Chiang Mai. It was eccentric Mair, Jimm's mother, who decided to trade in the family's raggedy urban convenience store for an inflated seaside dream of a resort. Restless for adventure, Jimm is mostly stuck keeping her loony Granddad Jah out of trouble and her depressive musclehead brother, Arny, out of the dumps. And she can only fantasize about Hollywood screenwriting success with her transsexual writing partner, Sissi. So when a head washes up on the beach, Jimm, beside herself with excitement, plunges in to probe its origin. In short order, two ratlike bureaucrats show up and attempt to keep Jimm away from their investigation, sound advice that she naturally ignores. Ironically, Jimm's plans to ferret out the head's identity keep encountering detours courtesy of the incognito pair of women who check skittishly in to the resort, and the mystery figure in mother Mair's bed. Thai/Burmese relations and explosions on the beach figure in the loopy solution.
The second installment of prolific Cotterill's new series (Killed at the Whim of a Hat, 2011, etc.) definitely puts the fun in family dysfunction. Jimm, an Asian Stephanie Plum, rattles steadily to a solution, with many hilarious episodes along the way.