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Behind every great fortune is a great crime . . . For American ex-pat writer Poke Rafferty, a late-night poker game delivers an unexpected prize: an "opportunity" to write the biography of Khun Pan, a flamboyant, vulgar, self-made billionaire with a criminal past and far-reaching political ambitions. The win seems like a stroke of luck, but as with so many things in vibrant, seductive, contradictory Bangkok--a city of innocence and evil, power and poverty--the allure of appearances masks something much darker. Within a few hours of folding his cards, Rafferty, his wife, Rose, beloved adopted daughter, Miaow, and best friend, Arthit, an honest Bangkok cop, have become pawns in a political struggle among some of Thailand's richest, most powerful, and most ruthless people. A hero to the poor and dispossessed, Pan is like a bone in the throats of the beautiful, sophisticated "good" people who own and control every facet of Thailand and want more. There are many who would prefer that a book, especially a sympathetic book, stay unwritten. And there are others who want to expose Pan's darker secrets, information useful in a preemptive strike against this profligate billionaire who can threaten their hold on power--a situation they will go to murderous lengths to prevent. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, Rafferty is breathing water and sinking deeper in a sea of intrigue with each passing hour. The trouble multiplies when a missing young street friend of Miaow's reappears, needing Rafferty's help to protect an innocent village girl trapped in a baby-selling ring. Pushed ever closer to the abyss, Rafferty has one chance to get them all out alive. But to succeed, this foreigner must do the impossible--keep a cool Thai heart. Set in the Thailand of today's headlines--a nation of unrest, political uncertainty, corruption, and tradition, where the future looks dangerously precarious--Breathing Water is the story of a deadly game in which the stakes are enormous and life is literally cheap. The most compelling Poke Rafferty thriller yet, it is a journey that goes beyond the illusion of order and stability into a world where a wrong turn can lead to chaos, and where love and courage may not be enough to hold back the darkness.
INTRODUCING JUNIOR BENDER, THE FAVORITE BURGLAR-TURNED- PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR OF HOLLYWOOD CROOKS Junior Bender is a Los Angeles burglar with a magic touch. Since he first started breaking into houses when he was fourteen years old, he's never once been caught. But now, after twenty-two years of an exemplary career, Junior has been blackmailed by Trey Annunziato, one of the most powerful crime bosses in LA, into acting as a private investigator on the set of Trey's porn movie venture, which someone keeps sabotaging. The star Trey has lined up to do all that's unwholesome on camera is Thistle Downing, America's beloved child star, who now lives alone in a drug-induced stupor, destitute and uninsurable. Her starring role will be the scandalous fall-from-grace gossip of rubber-neckers across the country. No wonder Trey needs help keeping the production on track. Junior knows what that he should do--get Thistle out and find her help--but doing the right thing will land him on the wrong side of LA's scariest mob boss. With the help of his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Rina, and his criminal sidekick, Louie the Lost (an ex-getaway driver), Junior has to figure out a miracle solution.From the Hardcover edition.
THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED, LAUGH-OUT-LOUD THRID INSTALLMENT OF THE FAN-FAVORITE JUNIOR BENDER MYTERIES There are not many people brave enough to say no to Irwin Dressler, Hollywood's scariest mob boss-turned-movie king. Even though Dressler is ninety-three years old, LA burglar Junior Bender is quaking in his boots when Dressler's henchman haul him in for a meeting. Dressler wants Junior to solve a "crime" he believes was committed more than seventy years ago, when an old friend of his, once-famous starlet Dolores La Marr, had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her at a Los Vegas party. Dressler wants justice for Dolores and the shining career she never had. Junior can't help but think the whole thing is a little crazy. After all, it's been seventy years. Even if someone did set Dolores up for a fall from grace back then, they're probably long dead now. But he can't say no to Irwin Dressler (no one can, really). So he starts digging. And what he finds is that some vendettas never die--they only get more dangerous.
"Edgar-finalist Hallinan's heartrending, unforgettable fifth Poke Rafferty thriller" (Publishers Weekly starred review) set in Thailand comes to Soho Crime An accidental collision on a Bangkok sidewalk goes very wrong when the man who ran into Rafferty dies in his arms, but not before saying three words: Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne. Seconds later, the police arrive, denying that the man was shot. That night, Rafferty is interrogated by Thai secret agents who demand to know what the dead man said, but Rafferty can't remember. When he's finally released, Rafferty arrives home to find that his apartment has been ransacked. In the days that follow, he realizes he's under surveillance. The second time men in uniform show up at his door, he manages to escape the building and begins a new life as a fugitive. As he learns more about his situation, it becomes apparent that he's been caught on the margins of the war on terror, and that his opponent is a virtuoso artist whose medium is fear.From the Hardcover edition.
In Bangkok, Thailand, an American travel journalist and his Thai family find themselves inadvertently entangled in a web of dirty cops and far-reaching corruption when their daughter's ill-gotten cell phone displays photographs of some very crooked cops, all of them thoroughly dead.Poke Rafferty is happier than he's ever been. He's financially solvent, his family is about to grow larger, and his adopted Thai daughter, Miaow, seems to have settled in at junior high school. All that is endangered when Miaow and her boyfriend, Andrew, buy a stolen iPhone from a shady vendor and discover photographs of two dead police officers on it--disgraced officers, violently murdered to avenge the long-dead. Surrounding the murder investigation is a conspiracy that reaches the highest reaches of Bangkok law enforcement, and perhaps beyond. It soon becomes apparent that Miaow's discovery threatens the entire family--and if that's not enough, in order to survive, they may ultimately have to depend on someone who, in the past, has already betrayed them.
The author of the Looking for Trouble travel book series, Poke Rafferty is ready to settle down in Bangkok with his fiancÉe, Rose, and his newly adopted daughter, Miaow. But trouble isn't ready to let him go; it's back in Poke's life with a vengeance, in the guise of his long-estranged father, Frank, the last person he ever wanted to see again. And Frank hasn't come empty-handed, arriving with a box of rubies, a wad of fraudulent identity papers, and one of the most dangerous gangsters in China in hot pursuit. With a rogue American Secret Service agent targeting Rose for her unwitting part in a North Korean counterfeiting operation, Poke can see trouble descending from everywhere to attack those he loves--and it will take every skill he possesses to keep them, and himself, alive.
Junior Bender, the clown prince of crime fiction, returns in his most hardboiled adventure yet--a tale that will take Junior Bender deep into a murderous conspiracy in present day Los Angeles and uncover an increasingly confusing legacy of his burglar-mentor, Herbie Mott, who until very recently was always one-step-ahead of just about everybody.It's everyday business when Wattles, the San Fernando Valley's top "executive crook," sets up a hit. He establishes a chain of criminals to pass along the instructions and the money, thereby ensuring that the hitter doesn't know who hired him. Then one day Wattles finds his office safe open and a single item missing: the piece of paper on which he has written the names of the crooks in the chain. When people associated with the chain begin to pop up dead, the only person Wattles can turn to to solve his problem is Junior Bender, professional burglar and begrudging private eye for crooks. But Junior already knows exactly who took Wattles's list: the signature is too obvious. It was Herbie Mott, Junior's burglar mentor and second father--and when Junior seeks him out to discuss the missing list, he finds Herbie very unpleasantly murdered. Junior follows the links in the chain back toward the killer, and as he does, he learns disturbing things about Herbie's hidden past. He has to ask himself how much of the life he's lived for the past twenty years has been of his own making, and how much of it was actually Herbie's game.From the Hardcover edition.
Back when Poke Rafferty first arrived in Bangkok to write a travel guide, some of the old-timers in the Expat Bar on Patpong Road helped him make sense of the city. Now these men--many of whom have been living in Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War--have grown old and, in some cases, frail. When a talkative stranger named Arthur Varney turns up, they accept him without suspicion, failing to see that he's actually using them to get to Poke.Varney wants two things: money Poke doesn't have and a person Poke is unwilling to hand over. It becomes apparent quite quickly that there's nothing Varney won't do to secure his goals. As his actions threaten the foundation of Poke's life in Thailand, the aging men of the Expat Bar discover that they might still be a force to reckon with.From the Hardcover edition.
Junior Bender finds himself caught in a Hollywood revenge plot epic enough for the silver screen. Los Angeles's most talented burglar, Junior Bender, is in the middle of stealing one of the world's rarest stamps from a professional killer when his luck suddenly turns sour. It takes an unexpected assist to get him out alive, but his escape sets off a chain reaction of blackmail, strong-arming, and escalating crime. By the time Junior is forced to commit his third burglary of the week--in the impregnable fortress that's home to the ruthless studio mogul called King Maybe--he's beginning to wish he'd just let the killer take a crack at him.
JUNIOR BENDER UNTANGLES ONE OF THE WEIRDEST MYSTERIES IN TINSELTOWN LA burglar Junior Bender has (unfortunately) developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him, either his suspect or his employer. Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he'd threatened to kill a couple times. It doesn't help that the dead journalist's widow is one pretty lady, and she's trying to get Junior to mix pleasure with business. Just as the investigation is spiraling out of control, Junior's hard-drinking landlady begs him to solve the disappearance of her daughter, who got involved with a very questionable character. And, worst news of all, both Junior's ex-wife and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Rina, seem to have new boyfriends. What a mess.From the Hardcover edition.
Travel writer Poke Rafferty was good at looking for trouble-so good that he made a little money writing a few offbeat travel guides for the young and terminally bored. But that was before Bangkok stole his heart. Now the expat American is happily playing family with Rose, the former go-go dancer he wants to marry, and with Miaow, the wary street child he wants to adopt. Yet just when everything is beginning to work out, trouble comes looking for Poke in the guise of good intentions. First he takes in Miaow's friend, a troubled and terrifying street urchin named Superman. Then he agrees to find a distraught Aussie woman's missing uncle-and accept an old woman's generous payment to find a blackmailing theif. Soon, these three seemingly disparate events begin to overlap, pulling Poke deeper into dark, unfamiliar terrain. Gradually he realizes that he's been gliding across the surface of a culture he really doesn't understand-and that what he doesn't know is about to hurt him and everyone he loves. Beautifully crafted, relentlessly paced, A Nail Through the Heart is an exciting and enticing read that will leave readers hungry for more from the gifted Timothy Hallinan.
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. And just when Rafferty thought life was looking good, reality comes crashing in as he learns that the secrets from Rose's former life are almost impossible to accept-and even harder to survive. The Queen of Patpong is a terrifying, heart-breaking, electrifying story of peril, love, and, ultimately, redemption in modern-day Thailand-and the most ambitious, affecting novel yet from thriller master Timothy Hallinan.
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