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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Breathing Water by Timothy Hallinan


Breathing Water A Bangkok Thriller

Timothy Hallinan

ISBN 10: 0061672238
ISBN 13: 978-0061672231
Hardcover, 352pages

www.timothyhallinan.com 
William Morrow an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers


A Nail Through the Heart (book 1) {review}
The Fourth Watcher (book 2) {review}


Breathing Water is the third novel in the Bangkok Thriller series from best selling author Timothy Hallinan, and the story keeps getting better and better…for the reader…which translates to fictional chaos and danger for our favorite travel writer, Poke Rafferty, his beautiful wife Rose and their adopted daughter, Miaow. As with the two previous installments, Breathing Water stands alone, independently strong, full of colorful characters and real world dilemmas delivered with a degree of realism that reaches off the pages into the heart of the reader. However, as a series, each book builds upon the last, taking you deeper into the lives, psyche and history of the characters, for this reason I highly recommend reading all three.

The scene opens on a late night poker game, orchestrated by Poke’s friends at the police department. Unbeknownst to some of the players the game was set up as a training exercise. When Khun Pan joins the table, he is not amused and a misunderstanding puts Arthit’s career on the chopping block. To save his best friend, Poke makes a bet with Khun Pan and wins! The prize? Pan’s biography, sought after by Thai journalists and writers for years, Pan had never before agreed to allow, much less participate in such a project. Making this a once in a lifetime opportunity. A flamboyant and controversial figure, Khun Pan is loved and admired by those who view him as a champion of the poor and absolutely despised by the affluent, many of whom are threatened by his political ambitions. Of course nothing is ever easy for Poke and word travels fast about the impending biography – While one side is paying for the book to be written, Poke is contacted by the opposing side and informed the cost of writing this book will be the lives of his beloved Rose and their daughter Miaow. Thus pitting the Rafferty family against some of Bangkok’s most powerful and influential people. And these ruthless people will do whatever it takes to maintain their status and keep their secrets hidden…whatever it takes!
In the background of this high stakes face-off is yet another link in the organized crime chain, stolen babies, modern-day-slavery and sex tourism. It is within this web we meet a young farm girl named Da and are reunited with Miaow’s long lost friend, Boo.  Captured and forced to beg on the streets of Bangkok, Da is dumbstruck when she’s given a baby to care for. Bewilderment gives way to fear when she discovers the baby, she named Peek, will only be with her temporarily, used on the streets as a prop until it is sold to a wealthy family. Boo, a tough, young lad we met in A Nail Through The Heart (first novel) as “Superman,” now, a few years older and much the wiser, is the leader and protector of a group of street kids and holds the key to Da’s escape.

Hallinan merges the two storylines effortlessly, as he reunites Boo with the Rafferty family. 
Together with Arthit and his friend Kosit, they formulate a complex, multilayered plan that has no room for error, each step must be executed with military like precision in order to be successful...all of their lives depend on it.
Breathing Water is an exceptional novel – showcasing Hallinan’s appreciation and understanding of Thai culture which is masterfully translated through the narrative, allowing readers a front row seat on a 300 page journey through Bangkok. (For many, like me, this is as close to Bangkok as we will ever get.) His portrayal of Bangkok brings the city right into your living room, which is no simple task as this is a city of fluid contradictions, where you can visit a message parlor type of establishment and pray on your way out at one of the many beautiful statues. For years Thailand has been teetering on the brink of civil war or total collapse, awash in every conceivable type of corruption, as organized crime bosses maneuver, manipulate and control all aspects of Thai life, from the street vendor to the political arena, but because of its dependence on tourism and this underworld control we are not likely to see such reports on CNN. Hallinan delivers the story with an unbridled passion that is intoxicating, addictive and incredibly entertaining. If you are looking for a genuinely good book, written with heart and doesn’t assume the reader lacks intelligence, look no further…Breathing Water is a rock solid selection you will not regret! (And pick up the first two installments while you’re at it! You won’t get much sleep for the next several days, but it is so worth it!)

  

I could say the third time is the charm – but that would insinuate that the two previous books were in some way lacking – and lacking is something you will not find in a Hallinan novel. The characters are drawn with such meticulous detail that it is impossible to distinguish fiction from fact, the emotional attachment the reader forms with the characters and your involvement with the story itself becomes a part of your life, a relationship that is missed with the closing of the cover. But is quickly rekindled with each new release…So, until the fourth installment…I wait and wonder what’s next for the Rafferty’s…

  A Nail Through The Heart
(book 1 – Bangkok Thriller series)
    Read our review of “Nail”
 The Fourth Watcher
(book 2 – Bangkok Thriller series)
  Read our review of “Watcher” 
 Breathing Water (book 3 – Bangkok Thriller series)

William Morrow an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

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