The Queen of Patpong: A Poke Rafferty Thriller by Timothy HallinanRead about the other books on the list.
Another classic read explaining the intricacies of the flesh trade, scorned and murderous past customers & the extreme differences of country life compared to big, bad Bangkok.
The paradoxical title hints at the contradictions lurking within the pages of Timothy Hallinan’s latest literary thriller, The Queen of Patpong. Rose Rafferty, prostitute turned employment counselor, is a fitting queen for the seedy area of Bangkok around Patpong Road. She’s married to writer / investigator Poke Rafferty who gallantly helps bar girls turn their lives around between cases. Poke isn’t your average brawny hero. He stumbles into danger and is saved more often by his intellect and local knowledge than weapons or martial skills. The portrayal is so genuine, the reader can imagine Hallinan in Poke’s place.
Hallinan’s prose is so lyrical and his focus on character so sharp that you will forget this is a thriller even as you careen through Rose’s past life from village farm girl to bar girl. Like many literary thrillers, the plot is fairly linear, yet layer upon layer of character depth and a few well-timed twists keep the story fresh. Hallinan shares an intimate view of the lurid world of Bangkok bar girls that is chaotic, intriguing, and often disconcerting. The Queen of Patpong is captivating even as it delivers a message of Hallinan’s deep caring for these girls or maybe because his caring feels so authentic. Highly recommended.
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