Bangkok Laws is the fifth book in the Laws series featuring detective Bryson Coventry. Hansen is expert in delivering novels rich with suspense, leaning toward the dark side and exploring not just the law but the complexities of life and human nature.
This installment, like others in the series, is told from different distinctive POV including a brutal glimpse into the mind of a killer. Hansen does an excellent job with his villains, and in this book it is obvious they can come in all shapes and sizes. Various plots weave through the story, and though the reader knows all are connected, the pace and substance of the book keep the reader guessing up until the ultimate reveal.
In this installment, Coventry makes a promise to a dead woman, something he swore he would never do again; he can only imagine the convoluted intrigue he will be entering. Along with solving the death of the woman, Coventry must find her missing friend. Another woman dies in strange circumstances, and meanwhile Coventry finds himself falling in love.
Ja’von, Coventry’s new love interest, is almost improbably beautiful, and readers will be immediately suspicious of her placing herself in the way of Coventry. Paige Alexander is an attorney with no cases hired by Ja’von to take on a top law firm - an almost impossible task, but Paige is somewhat seduced by the glamorous Ja’von, who is at the heart of the story, though just in what way will remain to be seen.
The connections to Bangkok seem sketchy at first. A pilot arriving home from Bangkok is brutally stabbed, Ja’von claims to have been a victim of sex slavery in the Thai capital, and she wants justice. How does this relate to the deaths of the two women and the kidnapping of one, all of whom have no connection to Bangkok? Will Coventry work it out, or will Paige and Ja’von? Will they even survive what they get themselves into?
This book has it all: high-stakes international intrigue, a green attorney taking her first case, lots of falling in lust and love, the scent of corruption, and of course, cold-blooded murder. There is no question that Hansen writes suspense and drama very well. His bad guys are truly bad but totally believable. All the cast are shrewdly written and are individuals. The plot is cleverly written, and all the twists and turns take the reader on a roller coaster ride while showing them everything they need to know to solve the crimes and join the dots.
Yet while some claim this to be Hansen’s best to date I disagree. I reviewed Night Laws and found it superior to this outing. I find Coventry not nearly as well rounded in the novel. His falling in love with Ja’von so easily seems improbable, and his caffeine addiction seems to be taken to new heights with coffee mentioned more times then I care to count. Even his interactions with other characters, while amusing at times, appear to take on a different tone. His partner, whom I identified in Night Laws as a strong character whom I had hoped to see develop, seems to be wasted here, being reduced to the woman he wonders about sleeping with if he did not work with her.
Still, I would not want to deter readers from the series. Hansen has an excellent writing style and many fans of this hard hitting series. I have not read every book myself and still intend to check them out.
I should make mention of the little joke Hansen has with his readers in this book (and I am not just talking about all the characters reading his books). Watch out for Hansen’s homage to Hitchcock and Coventry’s reaction, which is truly priceless.