When I told my friend I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Coroner's Lunch,a story about a Laotian coroner he thought I had totally lost my mind. I know it sounds obscure but Colin Cotterill is a masterful author who brings this strange hero to life. Siri Paiboun is a great zen character, a wise soul who has found much frustration in life, but continues to see the humor in everything. I enjoyed his relationship with his staff, especially how he builds up Mr. Geung when most Laotians would consider him a lost cause.
The different mysteries were a little confusing to keep track of, I hoped they might all be linked and I found the most interesting one to have the least interesting conclusion. But all in all the stories were well thought out and loose ends tied up nicely. I was a bit skeptical of the exorcism scenes, I thought, uh oh here it goes from mystery to fantasy, but in the end they were a great addition to the story, really bringing to life the complexities of the various cultures living in Laos.
I must say, though, that this book has by far the best cliffhanger ending I probably have ever read, just when you think the story is all smiles and congratulations to Siri a wrench is thrown directly at him, but you don’t know it until the last sentence of the book! Fantastic! It made me immediately want to run to the library to find Thirty-Three Teeth, can’t wait!