The Hot Countries, by Timothy Hallinan
Some time ago, Bangkok-based travel writer Poke Rafferty had the misfortune of encountering a truly evil and terrifying man. This Fear Artist really put Poke through the wringer, trying to get something from him, and almost succeeded in turning his adopted city against him to get it.
Poke walked away from the ensuing conflagration a sadder, if not wiser man. Also a richer man, thanks to the Fear Artist’s considerable coffers, though he’s found that money brings its own unique problems. He’s come to care for that man’s badly-damaged daughter, Treasure, as well, which brings a new set of challenges all its’ own.
But if he thought he’d be getting out from under the Fear Artist’s curse so easily, he was wrong. Such evil men tend to attract other evil men, like moths to some sick and guttering flame. And one of them, dazzled by hopes of getting his hands on his dead ally’s wealth, has sought Poke out to make him hand it over – along with Treasure.
He’s a truly frightening fellow, this Varney, and clearly willing to go to great lengths to get Poke to give him what and who he wants. He’ll invade his space, have him followed, and threaten both him and his friends at the expatriate bar.
He’ll even murder, as he quickly proves…
The last time Poke dealt with the Fear Artist’s machine, his family was fortunately out of town. This time, he’s not so lucky. This time, his wife is expecting, and his daughter is prepping for another school play.
This time, his oldest friend, Arthit, and his new wife are planning on adopting Treasure — if only they can get her to trust them, and vice versa.
It goes without saying that Poke is not going to give up what he’s fought so hard to gain – especially not to some sinister tourist who pours derision on his Bangkok as he threatens its adopted children. But as he tries to find a way around the predicament, it soon becomes clear that his best allies might be the ones who appear to be the weakest.
The ones who’ve made these Hot Countries their own still have some fight left in them…
Once again, award-winning author Timothy Hallinan has created a gripping, exotic thriller that draws its strength not only from the threats posed, but also from the ever-widening group of characters he’s been chronicling since “A Nail Through the Heart.” A family has been created, here in this sprawling, wet city that doesn’t know whether to be cruel or kind, and often does its best to be both at once. When their safety is threatened, we truly fear and hope for the best as Poke tries to find a way between bad outcomes — deftly describing the dark and light corners of Bangkok, as well as the lives of those expatriates who’ve made it their home, along the way.
The Hot Countries drops October 6th, and will be available at all Schuler Books and Music locations, as well as on our website.