Jun 15, 2010

Book Review: The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan, a thriller

Teacher Suttikul snaps off the flashlight, and Kwan throws her arms around the woman. Hugging her teacher with all her strength, and with her own heart pounding in her ears, Kwan still hears Mr. Partison stop to wait for them, standing alone in the dark.
(ch. 8. This quote is from an uncorrected proof. The final version of the novel may differ. )

The Queen of Patpong: A Poke Rafferty Thriller
Author: Timothy Hallinan
About the quote: Kwan is a bright, young teenager from the poor northeastern province of Thailand who is promised a scholarship to college by her teacher. How does she land up as a dancer in the red light district of Patpong Road, becoming the Queen of Patpong?

Fast forward to Bangkok many years later and to the beginning of the novel.  Kwan has changed her name to Rose, is happily married to travel writer Poke Rafferty and is the mother of their adopted daughter, Miaow. Rose's settled and contented life is shattered by the re-appearance of  a threatening man with a military bearing, an American who promises to shatter her life.

Rose tells her story to Poke and Miaow, how she became the Queen of Patpong, and how she believed she had escaped her past, which has now come back to haunt and threaten her.

My comments: The story of the Queen of Patpong, from her life in the village to dancing in the bars of Bangkok, to her escape from the stranger who now has returned, is the riveting story that had my heart pounding and my eyes glued to the pages of the book. A literary novel and a thriller rolled into one. The Queen of Patpong: A Poke Rafferty Thriller has some of the most suspenseful scenes I've ever read in a thriller, and the sociological aspects of the story are heartrending. Hallihan has excellent descriptive power and knows his subjects and their environment well. I gave this novel five stars.

Thanks to the author for providing a galley proof of this book.

Publisher: William Morrow (August 17, 2010)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061672262
ISBN-13: 978-0061672262

Review linked to Book Review Party Wednesday. Challenge: 100 + Reading Challenge,Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge. (Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme that invites you to choose two sentences from your current read to illustrate the book.)

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  1. Great teaser! This sounds like quite a page turner.

  2. This sound like it could be an interesting and heart-tugging book! My teaser is from Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey.

  3. Sounds like an intriguing thriller!
    My post: The Heir

  4. Sounds like a great read! Excellent teaser.

  5. Thanks for including the synopsis- that really helps. It sounds like a great read. My TT and contest link can be found HERE

  6. Sounds like an intriguing book!

  7. A hug in the dark, eh? Either someone needs reassurance or they just got really good news. I'm not sure which it is...but great teaser!

    And thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. I am curious how she went from Queen to wife of a writer. hmmm... very interesting.

  9. Oh, sounds really good! Great teaser!

  10. I'm so grateful for this review -- it's the first to appear online, as far as I know, so I'm almost superstitious about whether it's good or bad. This is beyond good, because you like the same things about the book I do.

    By the way, THE QUEEN OF PATPONG has now been reviewed by two of the three big publishing trades, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews, and they BOTH gave the book a star and a rave review. First time I've ever had two stars in a row.

    Now all we have to is sell some.

  11. Tim: I'm so glad you liked the review and that I "read" the book right! I posted a brief review at Goodreads.com and on Facebook and twitter! Hope that helps to get the word out about your fantastic book, that's so worthwhile both as a literary novel and a thriller.

  12. Harvee -- will you eventually review it on Amazon as well? That would be completely cool.

  13. Tim: Of course I will, as soon as the book is officially out and Amazon allows reviews.

    FYI, here's a list of the 50 best mystery book bloggers you might be interested in (Book Dilettante aka Book Bird Dog, that's me, is one of them) = http://www.courtreporter.net/blog/2010/50-best-blogs-for-crime-mystery-book-lovers/


I love getting comments and your thoughts...

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