Thank you, Audible, for bringing Timothy Hallinan's Poke Rafferty to a new reader. Poke, Rose, Miaou and Boo come to life in the streets of Bangkok t..Show More »hrough Victor Bevine's excellent narration. There is depth in the relationships between the characters that is touching, multi-faceted and honest. Hallinan's ability to bring very difficult topics to light is almost heroic: he doesn't go for the easy answers, instead he presents a picture of a brutal world with tenderness for the victims and hope for those who are able to forge emotional bonds, however fragile, in spite of their pasts. A word of warning: the subject matter at the heart of the book is very hard to bear. If I had been reading the book instead of listening to it, I would have skipped many pages. It's probably a good thing that I couldn't - just because I don't want to read it, doesn't mean I shouldn't know it. Kudos to Mr. Hallinan. I can hardly wait to read the next Poke Rafferty book.
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 t..Show More »alent 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.
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 nam..Show More »e 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.
Hallinan is a writer at the very peak of his power
This is the fifth novel in the Poke Rafferty series. Frankly, I didn't think he could top the Queen of Patpong, Wisely, he hasn't tried to do that. Qu..Show More »een was a love story to Rose, in addition to being many other things. Here, Rose and Miaow are exiled, almost to the point of disappearing. What Hallinan does do, however, is brilliant. Poke's half-sister, Ming Li, who had a vivid role in a prior book, is brought forward as a major character in this one. Hallinan writes women so well that, even though we miss Rose and Miaow almost viscerally, Ming Li is so compelling that she almost fills the void. The story is typical Hallinan Bangkok, with Poke running around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to stay alive. The CIA and the Phoenix Program from Viet Nam and the US Embassy and a villainous Major Shen and a horrendously dangerous mass murderer from Viet Nam, an American named Murphy, a flock of old spooks who desperately try to keep their old lifestyle alive: all these and more, much more. Poke's friend Arthit appears in a heart-breaking role, and we find ourselves still mourning the loss of Nui, his dead wife. Once again we get Bangkok in all its lurid splendor. Once again Victor Bevine does a marvelous job of bringing this masterful work of creativity to us lucky Audible listeners. I hope Tim Hallinan has a string of these in his remarkable mind, ready to write, because I could listen to his stuff for just about ever.