The Hot Countries
Poke Rafferty series (book #7)
by Timothy Hallinan
This three book story, began with the Fear Artist, continued with For The Dead and now concludes with The Hot Countries. (Which is book seven in the Poke Rafferty series) Being a huge fan of this series since way back in 2007, I hope this is not also the end of the series. The Poke Rafferty series is unique. There's nothing quite like it on the shelves. I have never figured out exactly how to describe these incredible books - the stories are so raw and real, there's genuine emotion, family attachments and problems. The characters, while doing extraordinary things, stuff right out of a great spy novel, they are also normal. It feels like you know these people.... you feel their pain, their fear and their joy. To me.... that's a good book. When I finish one, I immediately look forward to the next - I can't wait to reconnect with the characters I have grown so fond of over the years.
The expat bar, where Poke and his best friend (high ranking Thai policemen), Arthit frequent is home to a several men that came to Bangkok many years ago - simply to enjoy the sex trade industry and ended up staying. It is this group of men, that Poke calls on for help when Arthur Varney strolls in and demands two things.....3.8 million dollars and to know the location of a girl named Treasure. Well, Poke is not about to tell this lunatic, a known killer, where Treasure has been hiding. And as far as we know, he was only able to rescue one suitcase, containing 640 thousand dollars. Poke has hid that money in his apartment, intending to give it to Treasure when she is older. But, Arthur Varney is not the kind of man that takes no for an answer - and he will not leave Bangkok til he has what he came for. What follows is an emotional, thrilling, Bangkok adventure that leaves you breathless at times, makes you hold your breath at times and as it hurdles full speed towards the ending.... it tugs at your heart. *(Yeah, I shed a few tears.)
This is by far the most emotional of the Poke Rafferty books (and that's saying a lot, because all the stories have so much depth and dimension.) This is a well developed story that keeps the reader involved from the first page. I have always loved the characters in these books. Often it is the plot that carries the story, but in this series it is the people. I love Arthit and his relationship with Poke. It has been developing since 2007 and it's the kind of friendship we all wish we had. But, Miaow has been my favorite character. There's just something about this kid - she was abandoned by her parents, then adopted by Poke and she is an amazing young lady. Spirited, fun loving, yet intelligent and serious. She's damaged, but doing her best to distance herself from her past and I am cheering for her all the way. The Poke Rafferty series is a wonderful set of stories, if you haven't read any of these books - do yourself a favor, get a copy of the first book - A Nail Through the Heart. You'll be hooked.
I hope author Timothy Hallinan isn't finished with Poke Rafferty - as a reader, and a fan, I'm not ready to say goodbye to these fictional characters I've grown to love.
Thrillers set in Bangkok - a travel writer trying to make a life in the Thai capital.