Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Queen of Patpong-Timothy Hallinan

The Queen of Patpong
Timothy Hallinan
Morrow, Aug 17 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780061672262

In Bangkok, American travel writer Poke Rafferty and his lover Rose marry and forge a family with their adopted daughter Miaow. The adults are euphoric that their child is playing Ariel in a school production of the Tempest. However, their idyllic life is battered at a restaurant when Rose’s past on Patpong Road raises its ugly head with the return of Howard Homer from the dead while Rose thought she dispatched him years ago.

Now Homer has plans for his woman while Rose thinks back to 1996 when as a country bumpkin teen Kwan was forced to leave her life on a farm to accept employment in the Red Light District as a bar dancer. There is where she encountered Homer who almost killed her before she was able to she thought kill him. Homer stalks Rose, Poke their adopted daughter Miaow and friend Arthit.

The latest Poke Rafferty Thailand thriller (see Breathing Water) is a brilliant entry due to the intelligent way Timothy Hallinan deftly handles Rose’s back story as a dancer in the red light district. By not condemning or condoning her actions, Mr. Hallinan makes the tale seem real as he makes it clear this is simply a way of life. Homer brings the suspense to the streets of Bangkok as fans anticipate a High Noon confrontation perhaps on Patpong Road.

Harriet Klausner

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