On a steamy night in Bangkok, police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep and his partner Pichai are hot on the trail of a black U.S. Marine Corps sergeant when they find him in his car being, not only bitten to death by cobras but also strangled by a python for good measure. Within minutes, Pichai is also dead. Sonchai, the blond son of an unknown Vietnam-War-era GI and a Thai bar girl, must follow a twin path dictated both by revenge and by the austere Buddhist principles of karma he follows ... He must both negotiate with the wave of high-powered officials sent to investigate the sergeant's death and scour the seedy hive of villainy, drugs, precious stones, and the sex trade that is the Bangkok underworld. Lurid details abound.