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The Hot Countries de Timothy Hallinan
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The Hot Countries (2015 original; edició 2015)

de Timothy Hallinan (Autor)

Sèrie: Poke Rafferty (7)

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394517,026 (4)1
A man named Arthur Varney shows up in the Expat Bar on Patpong Road, unquestioningly accepted into its group of aging gents. But he's using them to find Poke Rafferty; Varney wants money Poke doesn't have and a person Poke won't hand over. As his actions threaten both Poke and his best friend, Arthit, the men of the Expat Bar - long sidelined from active life - discover that they may still be a force to reckon with.… (més)
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Es mostren totes 4
Really two and a half stars.
I really struggled to get through this book. I have read all the books in the Poke Rafferty series, but the last two, just didn't work for me at all. This one seemed especially forced, like there was one book left in the contract. The writing is excellent as always but the last two seemed forced. It also wanders in the first 75 or so pages, so much so that I didn't know if I wanted to continue reading it. This book is slightly part of a trilogy according to the author. It started in book 5- The Fear Artist, but even with that book, it seemed like the usual formula. A bad guy with loose USA government connections, maybe as a fixer, ex CIA, or black ops. And while there was plenty of action I found myself thinking I have read this too many times in the past.
Another problem I have with this series is two fold:
1. Rose and Meow, and with these 3 books Treasure have taken center stage in the stories.
2. Rose and Meow,and other elements of just too much PC or cliche for me.
Rose- forced to flee her village, moves to Bangkok, and becomes a sex worker.
Meow- street child who Poke adopts and in addition to all the usual teenage girl drama, also has all of the street child baggage as well.
These to characters are not interesting to me at all. I liked the dirty gritty Bangkok of the early novels in the series. I don't care about the school play Meow is in, or that Rose is pregnant.
Unless the next book in the series sounds fantastic and get rave reviews with explicit details about the story, I believe I am done with this series. ( )
  zmagic69 | Apr 5, 2017 |
my review from Reviewing the Evidence, reposted with permission -

Visitors to Tim Hallinan's Bangkok have previously met a group of aging ex-adventurers who hang out at an expat bar. They've been there long enough to know their way around the glittering city, but now getting around is getting more difficult. One of them, Wallace Palmer, is becoming increasingly vague and likely to misplace himself, forgetting where he lives and chasing after glimpses of a woman he loved who disappeared from his life many years ago. When a new expat joins them, flashing white teeth and an encyclopedia of factoids that he shares without a pause, they grow a little uncomfortable. Not only will he never shut up, he seems terribly interested in the whereabouts of their friend, travel writer and family man, Poke Rafferty. He seems to think Poke is hiding a treasure that he's come to Bangkok to claim.

Within the Poke Rafferty series, this is the seventh novel, but it's also the third in a related trilogy that started with THE FEAR ARTIST, which introduced a war criminal who exerted abusive power over his young daughter. Her story was continued in FOR THE DEAD. This novel adds a final chapter to the mayhem that was started by her vicious mercenary father and lingers around the fate of the traumatized girl.

Though it is labeled a thriller, those who read for fast action and don't care much about character development, setting, or beautiful language might grow impatient with the way this story unfolds. It's not that things don't happen. But the emphasis is on Poke's DIY family: his wife Rose, who as a girl had been sent from the north to work as a bar girl in the city where old and ugly foreigners seek youth and beauty, and his daughter Miaow, who was an abandoned street child who lived by her wits and now is a gifted, complex, and thoroughly real teenager. This story is also about other kinds of family, a group of street children being looked after by one of their own and the group of expats who journeyed years ago to a pleasure-seeking city that is no country for old men. The Westerners once looked out for themselves, but now have to look after each other, and the way they learn to do this is touching and quietly dramatic.

Hallinan's series can be described as vivid, poetic, often funny, always aware of social issues, and yes, thrilling. But in this installment another of his qualities as a writer is on display that isn't often associated with thrillers: tenderness. Though the evil at work is not so much larger than life as it is a normal kind of greed and selfishness, the depiction of the characters, old and young, threatened by greed is the novel's big-hearted center.
  bfister | Oct 24, 2015 |
Timothy Hallinan's first Poke Rafferty book, A Nail Through the Heart, blew me away, and I've been a fan ever since. Rafferty has changed over the years. Where once he was a bit of a smart aleck, now as a husband and a father (and with a baby on the way), his thoughtfulness, compassion, and ability to think through difficult situations have come to the fore. In addition, his adopted daughter Miaow, a former street child, never fails to surprise or tug at the heartstrings. She gives every appearance of being a typical self-absorbed teenager, but don't let her fool you.

Hallinan deftly adds touching personal details about the lives of his characters amid chill-inducing action sequences. As we learn why Poke is reluctant to leave a too-small apartment and why the adoption his policeman friend is considering is fraught with problems, in the back of our minds lurks the deadly Varney. He's a man capable of anything, and it shows the caliber of man Rafferty is when-- at the first sign of danger-- the first thing he does is get his wife and daughter out of harm's way.

The Hot Countries resolves the story of Haskell Murphy, an unofficial trilogy begun in The Fear Artist; however, it's not a permanent resolution. His daughter Treasure, who's suffered tremendous abuse in her short life, is now a part of the lives of Poke, his family, and his friends. And Treasure is a young girl who inspires great compassion and great distrust. She is one more reason-- among many-- for me to continue being enthralled with the evolution of this series. ( )
  cathyskye | Oct 6, 2015 |
Tim Hallinan’s Poke Rafferty series hit the ground running in 2007 with A Nail Through the Heart and it has never slowed down. And with the October 2015 release of The Hot Countries, the seventh book in the series, Poke Rafferty fans again have reason to celebrate.

Longtime fans will already know this, but for the uninitiated, I’ll give a little basic background about Poke Rafferty and those closest to him. Poke is a semi-successful travel writer whose travel guides are a bit offbeat in the way that they sometimes focus on the seedier sides of the cities he is exploring – and that’s exactly what he was looking to do when he came to Bangkok. But along the way, life happened. Poke is now married to Rose, a former bar girl, and they are living happily together with Miaow, their adopted daughter. (Miaow, who was living on the streets when Poke spotted her, is probably my favorite character in the whole series.)

But Poke is more, much more, than just a travel guide writer. The man is a born fixer, and he does not mind getting his hands dirty. When he sees someone suffering at the hands of others, he wants to fix it – and with the help of some friends he usually does just that. Poke’s most important “helper” is Arthit, a high-ranking Thai policeman, who also just happens to be Poke’s best friend. The relationship between these two strong men has, in fact, been a beautiful thing to watch as it has developed and deepened over the seven books.

But now, in The Hot Countries, everyone closest to Poke is being threatened by a mysterious stranger who wants two things from Poke and will gladly kill any number of innocent people if it forces Poke to give him what he wants. But there are two problems: Poke does not even have one of the things being demanded of him, and he will be damned if he will give up the other one. And so it begins.

But as the bodies begin to fall and he ever so slowly closes in on the man responsible, Poke will get some help from the unlikeliest group of heroes imaginable: a bunch of seedy old men who came to Bangkok decades ago strictly to enjoy the city’s wide open sex trade. Now, what’s left of these men spend their days and nights hanging out at the Expat Bar, where they do their best to pretend that they are still the young, virile men who first sat on one of those barstools so many long years ago. And who knows? Maybe they do still have a little gas left in the tank after all.

Hallinan, in one paragraph, captures the sad essence of these men. Here is part of that paragraph:

“One night on Patpong around 3 a.m., exhausted, half drunk, and unwilling to return to the home he hand turned into a shrine to her (the Thai woman he was still in love with) he walked into a tiny place called the Expat Bar. And he stayed for forty-three years.

Getting old.”

The ending of The Hot Countries achieved something that rarely happens to me when I am reading: it left me with a tear in my eye. I am a fan of series writing because of the way the good ones so fully develop not only the main character, but also several supporting characters. I have read in and out of many crime fiction series since the eighties, and a few of them are so remarkable that they have become longtime favorite books of mine. The Poke Rafferty series has earned its place among this select group. I look forward (and hope) to be reading more Poke Rafferty stories for a long, long time. ( )
  SamSattler | Sep 24, 2015 |
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A man named Arthur Varney shows up in the Expat Bar on Patpong Road, unquestioningly accepted into its group of aging gents. But he's using them to find Poke Rafferty; Varney wants money Poke doesn't have and a person Poke won't hand over. As his actions threaten both Poke and his best friend, Arthit, the men of the Expat Bar - long sidelined from active life - discover that they may still be a force to reckon with.

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