The Second Biggest Nothing

Colin Cotterill. Soho Crime, $26.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-64129-061-6
In 1980, Vientiane, the Laotian capital city, is hosting a celebration of five years of Communist rule, despite the regime’s signal failure to achieve anything, in Cotterill’s exceptional 14th mystery featuring retired Laotian national coroner Siri Paiboun (after 2018’s Don’t Eat Me). Siri is enjoying the political theater until he receives a note attached to the tail of his dog, Ugly. The message’s anonymous writer states that “my desire to destroy you and your loved ones is a fire that has burned in my heart without end.” When further written threats follow, and as people connected to Siri start dying, he wracks his brains to figure out which of the many persons in his past who have vowed vengeance is behind the violence. Flashbacks to Siri’s younger days, including an episode in 1932 Paris, where he witnessed an assassination and identified the hit man, offer glimpses of possible suspects. The eccentric Siri, who some believe to be possessed by a thousand-year-old shaman, has rarely been funnier or more astute. Cotterill is writing at the top of his game. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/14/2019
Release date: 08/20/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 978-1-64129-191-0
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