The author of the Looking for Trouble travel book series, Poke Rafferty is ready to settle down in Bangkok with his fiance, Rose, and his newly adopted daughter, Miaow. But trouble isn't ready to let him go; it's back in Poke's life with a vengeance, in the guise of his long-estranged father, Frank, the last person he ever wanted to see again. And Frank hasn't come empty-handed, arriving with a box of rubies, a wad of fraudulent identity papers, and one of the most dangerous gangsters in China in hot pursuit. With a rogue American Secret Service agent targeting Rose for her unwitting part in a North Korean counterfeiting operation, Poke can see trouble descending from everywhere to attack those he loves - and it will take every skill he possesses to keep them, and himself, alive.
©2008 Timothy Hallinan (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Hallinan offers a taut story line enhanced by an insider’s look at Thai culture. This book features an unlikely but likeable hero and provides readers with an informed glimpse into a world they are not likely to experience otherwise." (Kirkus Reviews)
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Timothy Hallinan is as good as any mystery/thriller writer I know at immersing the reader in the world and situation of his characters. He uses wonderfully evocative detail to bring Bangkok to vibrant and chaotic life even for someone who has never been there. He paces the development of his plots expertly, keeping multiple threads twining all the time but never allowing them to become confusing or tedious. He holds back just enough information to allow us to enjoy the surprising revelation without feeling that we are being toyed with. And he has created a familiar cast of characters who are so appealing that we cannot help but be invested in their fates. Add more than a dollop of humor, much of it domestic and comically bittersweet to anyone who has lived for more than a couple decades, and you have a mixture so rich and familiar that it feels as though it is coming out of your own family. As a result, there is an intimacy in his writing which makes the threat or occurrence of violence almost physically painful, engaging the listener very powerfully.
Hallinan is one of the few writers whose books I ration, not wanting to gobble them all up at once. (Jo Nesbo falls into the same category.) I recommend him very highly to listeners who have not yet encountered Poke and Rose and Miaow. You'll have no problem staying immersed in these wonderful stories, I promise.
If you have had a chance to read any of the Poke Rafferty books, you already know Tim Hallinan, and I may be preaching to the choir. Tim is a unique talent who shows us the life of Bangkok, Thailand in a way that is rich, finely detailed, genuinely empathic with the people who live there, and truly creative. Poke, Miaow and Rose are wonderful creations, and Tim always places them in dire situations, from which they emerge even closer in their small family, and in the broad landscape of Bangkok. This book extends our knowledge of Poke's family to include his father, who abandoned Poke's mother decades ago, and whom Poke hates with an undiluted, fiery passion. They become entangled in a chase for their lives with a Chinese general, a vividly evil character whom you will want to kill yourself. And, Poke unknowingly has a half-sister, the child of his father with a Chinese woman. The plot pulls you along. Every page includes Tim's wonderful sense of humor. Every page includes sentences so finely crafted that it could only be one author who writes them. Bangkok's history and current atmosphere have been extensively researched, and are as realistic as they could possibly be (at least for an American who has only read about them). There are four books in this series. I am eagerly awaiting the next one, as it is hard for me to believe that Tim can top himself. His colleagues seem to think so, almost unanimously. After reading any one of the four, I believe that you will agree. This is a master craftsman who clearly loves his work. The book will be over before you know it.
Potter in NC. Intense books allow for creative freedom. Busy hands+distracted brain=free forms.
There is something about Mr. Bevine's interpretation of Mr. Hallinan's words that makes Poke Rafferty, an over-the-top character, appear to be a believable super human. Definitely a fantastic combination.
Not as harrowing as the first in this series, this thriller is an awesome book to listen to. The narration is spot on, excellently delivered and paced.
It took me months to get the courage up to listen to this (see my review of book 1), but I am very glad I did. I have now bought books 3 and 4 in the series.
Wow! I love Poke Rafferty. The first book was great and the second book did not disappoint. Meeting Poke's dad and half sister was fun too. The action is fast paced and interesting. I have downloaded the third book and am really looking forward to it. If you like a combination of mysteries, thrillers, interesting characters and good plots, don't hestitate to download any of the Poke Rafferty books. I think the narrator also does a fabulous job with the variety of voices and accents.
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