Thursday, August 12, 2010

What is Timothy Hallinan reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Timothy Hallinan, author of the Poke Rafferty novels: A Nail Through the Heart, The Fourth Watcher, Breathing Water, and The Queen of Patpong.

His entry begins:
Leslie T. Chang's Factory Girls is the best nonfiction book I've read all year, and hands down the best in a long chain of books about modern China. Chang was the Beijing correspondent for The Wall Street Journal when she started the book by the simple act of befriending a few of the young women (some still in their teens) who make up the vast majority of China's 130 million-person industrial migration – the largest in human history. These amazingly resilient young women and girls leave behind the villages of their childhood and the shelter of their families and journey to the boom towns of the south, where they're paid tiny wages for boring, repetitive, often dangerous work. They set goals; they change jobs; they send money home. They...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Queen of Patpong:
Hallinan’s previous Poke thrillers have been reliably entertaining, featuring a fascinating and exotic locale and exceptionally malevolent bad guys (Breathing Water, 2009), but this one is a breakthrough. The backstory concerning Rose’s impoverished life in a squalid Isaan village, her father’s plan to sell her into prostitution, and her escape to Bangkok and life in the sex trade is riveting, genuinely moving, and entirely plausible. Miaow’s entry into a stormy adolescence, and her parents’ efforts to deal with it, are knowingly written. Even Bangkok seems more richly detailed than in past adventures, and Poke’s effort to condense “The Tempest” for Miaow’s school’s production (Miaow plays Ariel) is thoroughly charming. The Queen of Patpong is a terrific page-turner, and the surprising denouement will thrill readers who want the good guys—or girls—to win in the end.
--Booklist (starred review)

Hallinan (Breathing Water, 2009, etc.) takes his Poke Rafferty series to the next level with this taut, offbeat and fast-moving thriller that focuses on Bangkok’s red-light district and sex trade.... Hallinan’s unlikely hero shines in this sometimes funny, always engrossing and undeniably authentic story that explores a dark and fascinating side of Thailand.
--Kirkus (starred review)
View the trailer for The Queen of Patpong.

Learn more about the book and author at Timothy Hallinan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Nail Through the Heart.

The Page 69 Test: The Fourth Watcher.

My Book, The Movie: The Fourth Watcher.

The Page 69 Test: Breathing Water.

Writers Read: Timothy Hallinan.

--Marshal Zeringue