Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Fourth Watcher-Timothy Hallinan

The Fourth Watcher
Timothy Hallinan
Morrow, Jul 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780061257254

In Bangkok, travel writer Poke Rafferty, accompanied by his girlfriend former hooker Rose and their adopted child Miaow, is conducting street research into the unsafe underbelly of the Thai city as part of his next book. However, he vows to stay out of trouble starting with the three “faded” shirts who remind him of Pennyman’s First Law of Espionage: “the other guy is good”. However he remains unaware of the Fourth Watcher.

Meanwhile the U.S. Secret Service accuses the statuesque Rose of working for the North Koreans by passing counterfeit money; apparently the Kim II government is surviving by inundating the world with billions of fake dollars. While Poke tries to extradite his now fiancée from her mess, Ming Li abducts him and takes him to his estranged despised father, Frank, whose adversary Colonel Chu begins a deadly scheme; Rafferty with his friend police officer Arthit, whose wife is caught in the growing tsunami, try to counter it.

This exciting sequel to A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART is a terrific twisting thriller that takes the audience on a tense tour of Thailand as Poke struggles to save the two women in his life and the wife of his buddy. The story line is fast-paced and the cast solid; especially enlightening is the relationship between father and son as the latter has not forgiven the former for walking out on his mother and him years ago. Fascinatingly Chu believes blood is thicker than water so he expands his personal war to include Poke, Rose, and Miaow. Throw in Kim’s agents and American counterspies on top of all that is going on leads to one heck of a Bangkok ride.

Harriet Klausner