American travel writer Poke Rafferty has seen - and survived - some of the worst Bangkok has to offer. But now, finally married to his longtime love, Rose, and raising the young daughter, Miaow, they adopted from the streets, Poke believes his life is stable at last. Then a nightmare figure from Rose's time as a Patpong dancer barges into their world, threatening their peace, their love, their home, their lives.
Suddenly, Poke's only recourse is to uncover the whole truth of Rose's past to follow the dark and twisting journey that turned a shy, awkward village teenager into the queen of Asia's most lurid red-light district: Patpong Road. But the secrets that await him may be almost impossible for Poke to accept - and even harder to survive.
©2010 Timothy Hallinan (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“The Queen of Patpong is a terrific page-turner, and the surprising denouement will thrill readers who want the good guys—or girls—to win in the end.” (Booklist)
“Hallinan takes his Poke Rafferty series to the next level with this taut, offbeat and fast-moving thriller.... Sometimes funny, always engrossing, and undeniably authentic” (Kirkus Reviews)
Actor/director/teacher. Live most of the time in Beijing now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
I have to thank the pair of reviewers who took the time to recommend this book. The Publisher's Summary sounded banal and the leading character's name triggered my eye rolling reflex. Well, "Sooprize, sooprize, sooprize," as Gomer Pyle used to say. Tim Hallinan can write! Characters, plot, action, dialogue, local color: he fires on all five cylinders and even leaves you wishing the ride had lasted a little longer. And at the risk of suffering the furies of hell, I will even presume to suggest that he writes some terrific female characters. Add to all this the brilliant way he manages to weave through the story a description of an artful high school production of "The Tempest" and you have what I found to be a quite extraordinary piece of work.
I am not quite sure what to call the book. Thriller seems much too reductive, and it is not a classic mystery, crime fiction or adventure. It is, by turns, gripping, moving, and hilarious, and it is fascinating throughout. So I urge you to get to know Poke Rafferty. And Rose, and Miaow and the women of Patpong. You might even get to like his name as I have.
I'd heard of this book so bought it yesterday, the first day it was available. I listened in one gulp. Great characters (both the "good" ones and the "bad" ones) great descriptions of the culture, and interesting plot. The reader is also excellent. Doesn't get in the way, well paced. Glad to see there are other books by this author recently added. I'll be starting another shortly. Great addition to the action/thriller collection here at audible.
63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.
Tim Hallinan has become my favorite writer in the past three years or so, and each new author I try just solidifies Tim's position. The fourth in a wonderful series, Queen is the culmination of a series which will be very hard to top. The plot tells the story of Rose, a dirt-farm town girl who can only survive by going into the Bangkok sex trade. Tim tells this story with such passion that you will fall in love with Rose by the end of the book, as well as with Miaow, the street-urchin who is adopted by Rose and Poke Rafferty, who is the nominal protagonist of the series. Tim is so funny that it's hard to believe that these are "thrillers," but he will make you LOL, repeatedly. The book is also scary, with one scene in particular that will leave you breathless. I guarantee it.
The book follows both Rose's harrowing climb and Miaow's performance in a school production of The Tempest, with such sweetness infusing every scene that you want to know these people in your own life. The scenes in the sex trade are brutal and make you want to close your eyes and ears, but you won't, because you simply must know how these three, plus Poke's best friend, Arthit, survive. The individual evil in the plot, a mercenary named Howard Horner, is so sharply drawn that your skin literally crawls when he appears. The evils of the kids' lives in the sex trade is almost unbearable, but somehow Tim makes the kids so vibrant and the women so completely real that the result is anything but one-dimensional. The women are neither whores with hearts of gold nor just throwaway tramps. Their story could not be told better if Shakespeare were living there now.
The narrator, Victor Bevine, is perfect. Every Asian voice, every American character, each scene is told so beautifully that my only fantasy is that Frank Muller could return to us and read Tim's work. There can be no higher praise, in my opinion.
Pretty soon you'll be telling your friends about these books, as I am.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.