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The Fear Artist (A Poke Rafferty Novel) Hardcover – July 17, 2012
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Praise for The Fear Artist
Voted one of Deadly Pleasures Magazine’s “Best Mystery-Crime Novels of 2012.”
"At the start of Edgar-finalist Hallinan’s heartrending, unforgettable fifth Poke Rafferty thriller (after 2010’s The Queen of Patpong), travel writer Rafferty collides with an overweight man around 65, possibly a German or American, on a wet Bangkok street. The man, whose head is oddly sunburned, manages to say a woman’s name before expiring from multiple gunshots. When the cops at the scene insist the man wasn’t shot, Rafferty knows he’s headed for trouble. Forced to betray his best friend, Rafferty turns for help to leftover cold war spooks from the other side as he uncovers evidence that the Pentagon has resurrected the Phoenix Program, which the U.S. used in Vietnam, to counter Muslim terrorists in southern Thailand. Hallinan gives his readers, who should be prepared for gruesome torture scenes, no chance to escape from his somber conviction that what America has become by pursuing the war on terror was never what America was supposed to be."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
—Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“The volcanic American sadist is the author’s best yet… Simply the best of a fine series of thrillers set in one of the world’s most exotic locales.”
—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
“Hallinan not only writes a relentless-as-the-rain paced thriller, sprinkled with an off-beat, cynical humor, but the poignant emotional sides of the characters and the intelligent and beautiful plot and storytelling soak the reader's heart to the skin. The social issues, starkly and honestly portraying the exploitation of women and children will haunt you.... This is literary fiction of the first order told in the form of an elegant and intricate thriller.”
“Must-read crime fiction.”
"[The Fear Artist] presents a view of Thailand's underbelly that few visitors ever see.” —Contra Costa Times
“Hallinan seems almost incapable of writing badly, and his Poke Rafferty series has been a personal favorite of mine from its inception. However, THE FEAR ARTIST sets an entirely new standard for the author against which his future efforts will be judged."
“Just put Timothy Hallinan's Poke Rafferty novel The Fear Artist way high on my top 10 thrillers list. Violent, gritty, & moving.”
—Nancy Pearl (via Twitter)
"A well-told tale, and one that is recommended."
—Midwest Book Review
“Papa Hemingway used to say, “Write about what you know.” Hallinan does a hell of a job following his advice.”
“Absolutely the best book in the series.”
—Murder On Demand
“If I gave stars, THE FEAR ARTIST would get ten.”
—Murder By Type
Praise for The Queen of Patpong
"Taut, offbeat and fast-moving.... Hallinan's unlikely hero shines in this sometimes funny, always engrossing and undeniably authentic story that explores a dark and fascinating side of Thailand."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Riveting, genuinely, moving, and entirely plausible.... A terrific page-turner."
—Booklist, Starred Review
"You won't read a better thriller this year!"
—John Lescroart, New York Times–bestselling author of Treasure Hunt
About the Author
Timothy Hallinan is the Edgar- and Macavity-nominated author of thirteen widely praised books, including The Fear Artist, Crashed, Little Elvises, and The Fame Thief. After years of working in Hollywood, television, and the music industry, he now writes fulltime. He divides his time between California and Thailand.
Top customer reviews
The Fear Artist features a trio of very fresh, totally real-and-rounded lead characters, facing off against a real-world yet very chilling villainess. Hallinan's prose hits harder than anyone I read. He has single-handedly turned me into an evangelistic fan of books written in present tense. He made Bangkok vividly alive in my mind's eye, and I've never been there.
This novel delivers on all the things I really care about: non-cliched characters in a colorful, exciting world, living through a hair-raising yet very plausible plot. You simply can't ask more from a thriller than that. Well, actually, you can: this is one of a quartet of novels about the same characters, each one equally good. If you're new to TImothy Hallinan, brace yourself for gritty bliss.
The characters are plentiful and vivid. The villain being Murphy, doing his villainy best to cover up previous atrocities in another time by committing more atrocities in real time. Hallinan's bad guys are top-notch. The protagonist in this series is Poke Rafferty, a travel writer with an inexplicable ability to attract trouble and protect himself and others from same.
This is the fifth in the Poke Rafferty series. Poke's family is largely absent this time around. His wife, Rose and daughter, Miaw have been sent up country, leaving Poke to go it alone, making him more similar to others and less unique than I found him to be in The Queen of Patpong. He is visited by his half-sister, Ming Li, she of 17 years old going on 30. Ming Li was fine but I missed the nuclear family settings found in Queen of Patpong during the long periods of time Poke was on the lamb in Fear Artist.
There was one plot point involving Poke's father, Frank that shook me out of the comfort of my suspended disbelief. I'm nit-picking but I felt like I'd been hit over the head with a two by four at the time.
Murphy's daughter, Treasure and the images of her at Murphy's house are worth the read alone. Captivating. Haunting. And I almost forgot ... Janos. Janos is an otherwise forgettable character that Hallinan brings alive for all his forgettable qualities. It is the type of bonus coverage one has come to expect from Hallinan.
I'm giving this one 4 and 1/2 stars, which I normally would round up. But unlike some of the reviewers here who felt The Fear Artist is Hallinan's best in the series, I still give the nod to Queen of Patpong, which is a runaway 5 star thriller and less predictable. If you like thrillers and you like fun, read Tim Hallinan.
Overall, this crime novel has virtually everything going for it and fans of the series (and Hallinan's other books) will not be disappointed.