The Fear Artist

fearartisThe Fear Artist
by Timothy Hallinan
2012/ 342 pages
read by Victor Bovine – 12h 2m
rating –

Poke Rafferty – a travel writer living in Bangkok with his Thai wife, Rose,  and their adopted daughter, Miao.  is in real trouble now because although Poke was minding his own business a man lands in Poke’s arms,  gets shot and dies.  Just before dying the man whispers the words,  “Eleanor,”  “Eckersley”  and “Cheyenne.”   He also drops a laundry ticket which Poke is able to pocket.

The police arrive, haul the dying man away, deny there was a shooting and harass Poke about his papers.  He gets home and tries to get on with his painting, but the police arrive and this time Poke is interrogated rather harshly.  Nevertheless, he manages to be released.  During his absence his apartment has been searched, the cops are returning yet again so
now he escapes out the window and starts living as a fugitive while looking for answers.   Meanwhile,  Rose and Miaow are up north visiting her relatives to escape the intense rains which threaten to flood the river and city.

Arthit,  a Thai policeman, a friend of Poke, is a recently widowed and ongoing character.  He is helpful as always, and Poke visits the old Ex-Pat bar w

riverinbangkok

Flooding river in Bangkok

here a lot of old friends gather nightly.
It seems as though the cops and security forces are doing or have done something and are hiding it.  In order to find out just exactly what is going on,  Poke has to deal with a bunch of very bad guys in Bangkok, some of whom are not Thai but Russian spies, old American vets and others.  The treachery goes back to the Cold War and Vietnam days.  but now it’s more about the war on terror and who is looking for whom to do what.

But this time Poke has found his half-sister from the US to help him and the young but feisty Ming Li is of invaluable assistance.

Poke is angry at the government of the US and he says so,  explicitly  – particularly the mismanaged war on terror and way more.

Hallinan is so excellent – he’s developed a series with rich characters, tight twisty plots and it’s very nicely written .  I’ll keep following

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Program

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