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Sunday 16 Jun 2024

Fourth Watcher
Jennifer Ramirez

Bangkok-based writer Poke Rafferty has a new family and is deliriously satisfied. Of course, that's when he gets caught up in a jumble of counterfeiting fees and assassination attempts in this lively, scary and highly distinctive thriller.

Travel writer Poke Rafferty is ready to let go of his Looking for Trouble series of travel  books and the unsafe lifestyle that goes with it, and settle down in Bangkok with his fiancée, Rose, and his newly adopted daughter, Miaow. But trouble isn't ready to let go of Poke.  A sequel to “A Nail Through the Heart” finds travel writer Poke Rafferty looking to settle down in Bangkok with his girlfriend and newly adopted daughter only to be approached by his estranged and unscrupulous father for protection from a vengeful adversary.

As “The Fourth Watcher“ starts, Rafferty is doing some research for a new book and coming to grips with happiness; his girlfriend Rose, a former bar dancer, is ensconced in his apartment, as is Miaow, an eight-year-old street orphan whom Rose and Rafferty are in the process of adopting. Rafferty wants nothing more than for them to be a family, an acceptable enough wish that is made difficult on two fronts. The first is when Rose’s cleaning business - legitimate by any definition, and particularly so by Bangkok standards - appears to be involved in the passing of counterfeit money from North Korea. The second is ironic, and ultimately much more dangerous. Rafferty’s father Frank, who abandoned his family when Rafferty was young and who subsequently rebuffed Rafferty’s attempt at contact, is suddenly back in his life, with a daughter (Rafferty’s half-sister) in tow and a very angry pursuer.

The Fourth Watcher's characters are authentic and the setting takes the reader on a journey to an exotic place that few of us will visit in person. Poke Rafferty wants only to write his travel book, marry Rose, and settle down with her and his newly adopted daughter Miaow, but trouble rears its ugly head in more than one place. As he tries with the help of the Bangkok police chief to settle one problem, another problem arises. In the explosive ending all the pieces fall together and the reader can relax, we hope. The quiet star of “The Fourth Watcher.” nonetheless, is Miaow, whose existence on the street compressed decades of hard living into a few short years, somehow leaving her worldly and wise beyond her years without ruining her. Hallinan’s touch is subtle but stinging, however, so that one does not get very far into “The Fourth Watcher“ without realizing that anything can, and will, happen in his Bangkok, and that any, and all, are expendable.

Once again, Hallinan has created a sophisticated, psychologically satisfying thriller with edge-of-your-seat suspense and a cast of characters so real you'll feel you know them. Sharp as a razor and full of heart-pounding surprises, “The Fourth Watcher“ firmly establishes Hallinan as a brilliant new voice in the world of suspense. If you are looking for a series set in a different, exotic locale, “The Fourth Watcher“  will sink the hook.


Click on title, below, to read a review of other books by Timothy Hallinan

Crashed, the first book in the Junior Bender series.

The Fear Artist, a Poke Rafferty thriller set in Bangkok.

Breathing Water, a Poke Rafferty thriller set in Bangkok.

Nail Through the Heart, a Poke Rafferty thriller set in Bangkok.

Queen of Patpong, a Poke Rafferty thriller set in Bangkok.

Jennifer Ramirez, known as Jenny, has reviewed and edited for 5+ years. Originally from Toronto, she grew up performing and competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Jenny enjoys reviewing movies, books and music albums. She describes herself as funny and righteous, with a 'go that extra mile' attitude. Her philosophy is quite simple: try to live life to the fullest Jenny writes that hr passion is books. She reads and reviews current and back-list literary fiction, crime fiction, thrillers, occasionally science fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She also loves music. She's a huge fan of The Maine and All Time Low! Joy is her favorite word and creativity is something she can't live without.

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