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The Last Six Million Seconds (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) [Kindle Edition]

John Burdett
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Paperback $11.54  
The Devil's Detective
The Devil's Detective is an audacious, highly suspenseful thriller set against a nightmarish and wildly vivid world. Debut British novelist Simon Kurt Unsworth has created a phantasmagoric thrill ride filled with characters that spring from our deepest nightmares. Learn more

Book Description

It is April 1997, and all of Hong Kong is counting down to July 1, when Britain will hand over rule of the country to China. Public anxiety about the transfer of power is running high, but “Charlie” Chan Siu-kai’s biggest concern is a gruesome triple murder case, with no solid leads. Chan, a half-Chinese, half-Irish Hong Kong native and chief inspector with the Royal Hong Kong police, thinks he’s found a breakthrough when three mutilated heads are found floating in Chinese waters. But he grows increasingly frustrated as the Chinese police actively hinder—and the English bureaucrats pointedly ignore—his investigation. As Chan tracks the killers, he discovers cover-ups and conspiracies running deeper than even he had imagined. All the while, in the background, the clock ticks down to the day the British leave . . .

Editorial Reviews


“[A] fine and subtle thriller. . . . Intense and timely.” —Chicago Tribune

“John Burdett is purely and simply a wonderful writer.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Capture[s] the verve and excitement of Hong Kong in its heyday.” —Boston Herald
“Enthralling.” —Publishers Weekly

“John Burdett’s crime novels . . . are lovely and complex. . . . The reader is transported to a foreign world made familiar through the voice of his guide.” —The Denver Post
“Burdett’s fever-dream mysteries recast the police procedural as psychedelic peep show.” —The New Yorker
“You might find yourself addicted to Burdett’s sizzling prose.” —San Antonio Express News
“John Burdett is writing the most exciting set of crime novels in the world.” —The Oregonian
“Time and again, John Burdett breaks the crime-thriller mold. And then reassembles it, piece by piece. His narrative becomes more than the sum of its parts. . . . Thoroughly enjoyable.” —New York Journal of Books

About the Author

John Burdett was brought up in North London and worked as a lawyer in Hong Kong. To date he has published seven novels, including the Bangkok series: Bangkok 8, Bangkok Tattoo, Bangkok Haunts, The Godfather of Kathmandu, and Vulture Peak.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3315 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0064C3UQ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,857 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Burdett - Not a Bangkok Novel May 19, 2013
By j-lo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dear Farang reader (DFR), I am an avid fan of John Budett and his Bangkok/Sonchai Jitpleecheep novels. These books are very exotic and very well written. In my opinion, John Burdett is easily the most literary crime fiction writer out there. He is a wonderful writer (for this genre). The only drawback for me with the Bangkok novels is that they are so surrealistic and diabolical (kiler snakes, snuff films, human organ-trafficing, etc.) that you cannot remember one book from the other. Reading these books is a little bit like smoking opium which leads me to the Last Six Million Seconds (opium plays a part). I really enjoyed this book as it is a welcome change-up from the Bangkok books. The historical context behind the novel (the 1997 British hand-over of Hong Kong to China)is a great back drop. The story is a little weird (a guresome triple murder), but Burdett's descriptions of the menuvering and politics and avarace on both sides ledading up to the hand-over are facinating. I always thought that the PRC was just a huge monolithic communist state. Now I know different. This book makes the Bo Xilai scandal much easier to understand. If you are a Burdett fan and have not read this book, you should read it. I have to say that it is better than the recent Vulture Peak (no more General Zinna).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect book for Hong Kong history June 7, 2012
This was a lot of fun to read. I visited Hong Kong prior to the turn over and the feel of the area is well represented. The history of this area and the politics involved in this murder mystery will not disappoint. The 1997 Hong Kong turn over to China by England was a significant moment in history. The setting and characters coupled with the history really set this read apart.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars up all night reading June 17, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a John Burdett fan and was not sure I would like this new-to-me police character. I was not disappointed! The slightly twisted conflicts of nationality, culture, tradition with a capital T, and morality were engaging and humorous. My bedside table lamp stayed on for hours after I should have called it a night but I couldn't stop reading. Truly enjoyable!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burdett outshines them all in his genre July 13, 2012
Burdett's introspective, perceptive and humanly flawed character, Chan, deals as best he can with the convoluted interests of family, powers-that-be [English, Chinese cadres, Hong Kong business people about to be usurped from power]and his own sense of duty to solve a crime that's woven into an enticing tapestry of events. Grisly it may seem but the plot line, inventive inclusion of characters while avoiding the "deus ex machina" foible of so many writers, allows you to become so embroiled that you cheer the outcome although it may be grinding on the nerves for some. Stay healthy JB, I'm sure you'll be an all-out favorite very soon, you're definitely one of the few at the top of my list in this genre.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoy! June 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
compelling, thrillling, atmospheric tale of the ancient culture of a very modern city in transition. character development and neighborhood architecture are deft.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I need something different than a 1-5 scale of stars to rate this book. The writing is very good and, as others have said, the setting of Hong Kong in transition is rendered well and is interesting. Burdett resembles some of the best of Graham Greene, and that's high praise.

But I have had a hard time getting past the gratuitously grisly crime that starts it off, a crime that Hannibal Lecter would find stomach-churning. (I won't spoil it here, in case there are people with strong constitutions who can pass over it and get to the prose-style and tone.)

It made the book an approach/avoidance problem for me: I wanted to read the author's observations about the handover of Hong Kong and the misunderstandings between cultures, but I really didn't want to know any more at all about the violent crime. So I give it three stars--five for the former, zero for the latter.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Introspective Detective October 1, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The horrific crime scene described by others was the only thing that initially kept my interest. Inspector Chan's introspective observations about Asian culture and his place as a Eurasian in it are reported so frequently and with such incisiveness as to become a character in and of itself. Myself, spoiled by action taking precedence over thoughtful processing, found this a hindrance, especially with the early parts of the book. But once I realized that Asian culture is the milieu that propels the action, I came to accept and even enjoy it. I don't read a lot of mystery novels but I personally found the denouement to be one of the most complex ever. I can appreciate the author's skill in writing this novel and I'm glad I read it even if it was a slog for me at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read all of John's Bangkok books. This book is basically that series transmitted to Hong Kong. I liked it. There was some interesting Hong Kong information. And some interesting life philosophy. Probably a three star book. But I like John. So threw him an extra star for entertaining me well for a few days. Plus leaving me with some thoughts for the future. If you like detective novels with some local flavor and history thrown in, I think you would like this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Wow. What a great read. Terrific story and characters.
Published 1 month ago by cawcaw
5.0 out of 5 stars vintage Burdett
It is a pity inspector Chan did not appear in more of Burdett's books. What a great story, and what a character. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ponder
5.0 out of 5 stars another compelling journey into the complexities of good and evil,...
I need to read it a second time, even though the circles of confusion meet up at the end. And do some reading on the powers in Hong Kong, as they are now. Read more
Published 2 months ago by K. B. Rosenthal
5.0 out of 5 stars An "Insider's View" of Hong Kong crime
Burdett is a the ":real deal", and know the Hon Kong scene like an isider, plus he always spins a great yarn.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars He tells a good detective story
It's a change of scenery from Burdette's usual ground in Thailand. But his description of the local environs still ring true and the story line, while occasionally stretched, was... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Hope Burdett continues writing about the juncture of asian and western cultures.
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking ........
Having resided in HKG I Respect its people; wish them well from now to eternity.
May they grow in wisdom and peace each day forward.
Published 7 months ago by Richard F. Grott
5.0 out of 5 stars Unending Menace
Burdett creates, with ease, an Orient of stark beauty and stunning horror. Yet, it works. From three unknown persons minced to death, the mystery turns and twists, never quite... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Terry Oreilly
2.0 out of 5 stars Just ok
This was just ok. I enjoyed the Bangkok series and thought I'd try this but I liked the Bangkok series better.
Published 10 months ago by kathryn giusio
4.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Burdett
Burdett spins a complex and interesting story right from the start. It has a couple of rough spots where the action "jumps" a bit but overall it is a very good read with... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Da Reader
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More About the Author

John Burdett is the author of A Personal History of Thirst, The Last Six Million Seconds, Bangkok 8, and Bangkok Tattoo.


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