GRANDAD, THERE'S A HEAD ON THE BEACH
The second case for spunky Jimm Juree takes a serious turn, as Cotterill tackles the subject of human-rights abuses against Burmese refugees in Thailand. The theme of corrupt government agencies runs throughout the novel as Jimm and her sidekick, Lieutenant Chompu, work the case. Jimm and Chompu make a great pair, and their constant banter is delightfully witty. Jimm’s kooky family also provides ample comic relief, but underneath the humor is a tightly plotted mystery that shines a thoughtful light on a subject unfamiliar to most Americans.
When a head washes up on the beach near the Thai resort owned by former crime reporter Jimm Juree’s family, it livens up an existence limited to gutting fish and solving little local mysteries, such as who stole the monkey handler’s monkey and why the two women staying at the resort are on the lam. Jimm’s investigations into the head’s identity leads her straight into the Burmese refugee community, where she discovers abuses that rattle her to the core. (MINOTAUR, Jun., 384 pp., $24.99)