The Fear Artist
by Timothy Hallinan
Poke Rafferty (Bangkok series)
(re-post of original review)
This is the fifth book, in Timothy Hallinan's Poke Rafferty series. Poke is a travel writer and family, that can't seem to avoid trouble. In the opening pages he's sent his family to higher ground, to avoid the floods, and was headed home paint the apartment while it was empty. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned for Poke.
Minding his own business became impossible when a stranger collides with Poke on the street. The man utters three words "Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne," before succumbing to multiple gun shots. Within seconds the police arrive on the scene and immediately begin denying the man had been shot. He quickly realizes, the spilled paint is the least of worries. Poke is relentlessly questioned, his papers are reviewed again and again, and not so thinly veiled threats are made... as Poke continues to tell the police he doesn't remember what the dying man said. He is finally freed and makes his way through the mostly empty streets, wondering how on earth so many police could have arrived at the scene so quickly. Bangkok, a city of some 14 million is never empty, it's crowded, loud, and bustling at any hour. Over the next few days, Poke is constantly looking over his shoulder - he knows he is under surveillance. So when the police come knocking on his door again, he narrowly escapes...and thus begins his life on run...trying to put the pieces of a dangerous puzzle together. He enlists the help of a cold war spy, discovers the Pentagon's Phoenix program is alive and well, and the war on terror has expanded to Thailand.
I've been a huge fan of Poke Rafferty and his escapades since the first novel, A Nail Through the Heart. The Fear Artist is a fast read, with deeply defined characters, a well structured, multi-dimensional plot and some scary, gruesome torture scenes. Timothy Hallinan has written yet another excellent Poke Rafferty story that reaches out and grabs you from the collision on the street and never lets go!
Next installment in the Poke Rafferty series (book #7):
Thrillers set in Bangkok - a travel writer trying to make a life in the Thai capital.
- A Nail Through The Heart (2007)
- The Fourth Watcher (2008)
- Breathing Water: A Bangkok Thriller (2009)
- The Queen of Patpong: A Poke Rafferty Thriller (2010)
- The Fear Artist (Poke Rafferty series, 2012)
- For the Dead (Poke Rafferty series, 2014)
- The Hot Countries (Poke Rafferty series, 2015)