For American travel writer Poke Rafferty, life finally seems to hold some semblance of stability. He and his longtime love, Rose, have gone through with their much-deferred marriage ceremony, their adopted daughter, Miaow, a former street child, has become a loving-if sometimes difficult-part of the family, and the three of them live in relative comfort thanks to Rose's housekeeping business and Rafferty's writing. Then a nightmare figure from Rose's time as a Patpong dancer barges into their world, shattering the peace they've worked so hard to obtain. His appearance threatens everything they cherish: their love, their home . . . their very lives. As a foreigner who's seen some of the worst Bangkok has to offer and survived confrontations with Thailand's most powerful and dangerous elements, Rafferty feels equal to most of the challenges Bangkok can throw at him. But now his only hope is to discover the whole truth of Rose's past-a journey down the dark and twisting road that turned a shy, awkward village teenager into the queen of Asia's most lurid red-light street: Patpong Road.
Hallinan's compassionate fourth Poke Rafferty thriller (after Breathing Water) finds Poke and his live-in girlfriend, Rose, finally married, but a specter from Rose's past as a dancer on Bangkok's notorious Patpong Road comes back to haunt her. As a naive country girl named Kwan, Rose fell for the charms of American Howard Horner, never suspecting that Horner's true interest in her involved something far darker than romance. Long thought dead, sly predator Horner is back in Bangkok to stalk Rose and all who are dear to her. Hallinan uses the menace Horner represents to springboard into a sympathetic depiction of Rose's life, revealing without condescension how a simple farm girl decided that the least bad of all the unappealing options open to her was to offer herself to a parade of strangers for money. Rafferty neither idolizes nor demonizes Bangkok's sex workers, instead casting an empathetic but incisive eye on a class of people often reduced to mere caricature. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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August 30, 2010
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