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A Nail Through the Heartby Timothy Hallinan
Synopses & Reviews
Travel writer Poke Rafferty is good at looking for trouble—so good he makes his living writing offbeat travel guides for the young and terminally bored. His Looking for Trouble series is for travelers obsessed with the unusual: how to beat official foreign-exchange rates; how to spot fake amber or counterfeit money; how much to bribe a cop; how to identify a transvestite before it's too late; and how to know, within an hour of arriving in a strange city, where to find the best bars, the best clubs, the best food, the best clothes, and the dodgiest entertainment at the best prices.
Then Rafferty falls in love with Rose, an exPatpong Road bar girl, and he badly wants to be a part of her new life. Both Rose and Bangkok itself have stolen his heart. To complete his new family, Rafferty is in the process of adopting a wary eight-year-old street orphan when trouble comes looking for him.
First he takes in another orphan, a troubled and terrifying street urchin nicknamed Superman. Then he agrees to find a distraught woman's missing uncle, a task that seems simple enough given the uncle's predilections for just the kind of shadowy places Rafferty knows well. Finally, in a moment of weakness, he accepts an old woman's generous payment in exchange for locating a blackmailing thief. Soon, these three seemingly disparate events begin to overlap, pulling Rafferty deeper into dark, unfamiliar terrain, and he begins to realize that some people guard unspeakable secrets that don't always show on their faces—and that all this time he's been gliding across the surface of a culture he doesn't understand.
"'Brutal torture and equally brutal empathy define this excellent, if sometimes familiar, thriller from Hallinan (The Bone Polisher). Poke Rafferty, a travel writer turned detective, intends to settle down in Bangkok with his ex-prostitute girlfriend, Rose, and a young urchin, Miaow, when Miaow brings her troubled friend Superman into the household. While dealing with this intrusion, Rafferty takes on dual sleuthing assignments to help pay for adopting Miaow. The first case involves finding Australian Claus Ulrich, a hardcore bondage aficionado. When Rafferty meets the powerful and rich Madame Wing while investigating Ulrich's disappearance, she offers him $30,000 to find an envelope and the Cambodian man who took it. The only catch? If Rafferty opens the envelope, he'll learn information about Madame Wing that will force her to kill him. Rafferty stumbles through the clues like the foreigner he is, always on the outside looking in. Despite an overly leisurely ending, the rich depictions of Bangkok's seedy side recall John Burdett's visceral mysteries. (July)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
East meets West in this exotic and evocative, beautifully crafted and relentlessly paced thriller that hails the arrival of an exceptional new suspense series.
Travel writer Poke Rafferty was good at looking for trouble—so good that he made a little money writing a few offbeat travel guides for the young and terminally bored. But that was before Bangkok stole his heart. Now the expat American is happily playing family with Rose, the former go-go dancer he wants to marry, and with Miaow, the wary street child he wants to adopt. Yet just when everything is beginning to work out, trouble comes looking for Poke in the guise of good intentions. First he takes in Miaow's friend, a troubled and terrifying street urchin named Superman. Then he agrees to find a distraught Aussie woman's missing uncle—and accept an old woman's generous payment to find a blackmailing theif. Soon, these three seemingly disparate events begin to overlap, pulling Poke deeper into dark, unfamiliar terrain. Gradually he realizes that he's been gliding across the surface of a culture he really doesn't understand—and that what he doesn't know is about to hurt him and everyone he loves.
Beautifully crafted, relentlessly paced, A Nail Through the Heart is an exciting and enticing read that will leave readers hungry for more from the gifted Timothy Hallinan.
About the Author
Timothy Hallinan divides his time between Los Angeles and Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, where he has lived off and on for more than twenty years. As a principal in one of America's top television-based public-relations firms, he represented programs sponsored by many Fortune 500 companies and pioneered new methods of making television programming accessible to teachers. He also taught writing for many years.
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