A Nail Through the Heart, by Timothy Hallinan (HarperCollins, $24.95) This is certainly a book that lives up to it's title. While giving us a glimpse into Thailand's inner society and soul, it manages to convey the grandeur and cruelty of Bangkok's extreme poverty and sex trade. It is also a completely perfect mystery, right down to the 'the Blonde walked into my office' conceit. I've been a big fan of Hallinan's work since his Simeon Grist/L.A. detective series. After too long a hiatus, the Poke Rafferty series will definitely satisfy.
"One reason people come here, as I believe you said in your book," Hofstedler continues comfortably, "is that here it is possible to behave openly in ways that one would hide at home."
"I wrote that?" Rafferty says.
"It makes you wonder, does it not," Hofstedler says, "What kind of behavior one would hide in Bangkok."
Poke Rafferty is the successful author of the "Looking for Trouble" Travel Series, and now the publisher's attention-getting advance has brought him to Bangkok to write Looking for Trouble in Thailand. Unfortunately, that is not enough money to let him marry former Patpong go-go dancer Rose, or adopt Miaow, the eight year old gum seller he has rescued from the street.
Persuaded by his ally on the local police force, Arthit, that taking the Blonde's case and finding her missing Australian Uncle will get him both "owed favors" and needed monies, Poke must take to the streets and bars that no longer lure him. Peeling this onion of Bangkok two months after the tsunami reveals dance girls, abandoned children, sadistic sex tourists and Cambodian killers that mingle with the "hungry ghosts" from that great wave.
I must say, one of the things that make this such a haunting read are the echoing chapter titles. I love chapter titles when they are so finely tuned as these.
Penitent Liberal Lesbian and I recently had the honor of attending Tim's workshop, "Finishing Your Novel". You can explore that inspirational session at his website, Writer's Resources.
A Nail Through the Heart is available at Jackson Street Books and Fine Independent Bookstores everywhere.
democommie™™™™®© was unable to help in the writing of this book report as we have assigned him to procure a sound system for next week. I told him we need an amp that goes to 11.
SPECIAL BULLETIN TO ALL SEATTLE TROOPS: On Thursday, Oct 11th, the hermans will stalk Jackson Street Books. At 5 pm, the hermans will rock the parking lot and sign copies of Stalking America: the Diary of an Unknown Rock and Roll Band (Running Press, $17.95). Come join us for an insider look at an up-and-coming indie band. If you can't make it, contact us to arrange for a "personalized" copy. Considering it's the hermans, who knows what you'll get!
I will be serving my signature dish, "Pigs-inna-Blanket" and other tasty treats!