VULTURE PEAK, By John Burdett

6(?)/ series. Once again Burdett, author of the Bangkok 9 series, digs deep into weirdness and comes up with a winner. Buddhist Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a detective on Bangkok's police force, is ordered to investigate a triple murder where organs and faces were removed. At once embroiled in the international organ trade, the cynical but devout Buddhist jets to Dubai, then Hong Kong, then into China, gathering seemingly dead-end information. With his corrupt boss now running for Bangkok city mayor, Jitpleecheep must question everything he's ordered to do, and find his own unique way through the moral swamp. Burdett's mastery of his milieu make this unsettling, edgy novel with its casual acceptance of brutality and the grimness of life a fascinating read for those who don't mind the graphic (but not gratuitous) scenes. A 4.