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becke_davis
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Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

[ Edited ]

Please welcome Thursday's guest blogger, TIMOTHY HALLINAN. You may recall that Tim visited with us once before, when Leighton Gage and his co-bloggers joined us:

 

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Mystery/Please-Welcome-LEIGHTON-GAGE-amp-HIS-INTERNATIONAL-CR...

 

A Message From Tim

 

 

 

 

It's been quite a year so far.

 

OUT AT LAST!  The fifth Poke Rafferty Bangkok thriller, THE FEAR ARTIST -- starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal -- Publishers Weekly "Thriller Tip of the Week.  

 

THE QUEEN OF PATPONG, the fourth Poke Rafferty thriller, was nominated for two major awards, the Edgar and the Macavity.

 

I finished and put online the second book in my ebook series of Junior Bender Mysteries, LITTLE ELVISES. This one was a lot of fun to write, and I hope it's also fun to read.

 

It was my pleasure to contribute a story to BANGKOK NOIR, a collection of stories set in the Big Mango – written by some remarkable storytellers, and for a great cause—taking care of Bangkok's poorest children.

 

And finally, moved by the ongoing tragedy in Japan, I edited an ebook collection of original short stories by twenty of our finest mystery writers. SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN went online on the three-month anniversary of the disaster. We're all proud to have made a small contribution to putting people's world, and their lives, where possible, back together.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Tim's website is here:http://www.timothyhallinan.com/

 

You can find him on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook. He blogs here and here.

 

 

Biography
Timothy Hallinan

Timothy Hallinan is the author of three widely praised fiction series: the Bangkok thrillers featuring Poke Rafferty, the Simeon Grist mysteries, set in Los Angeles, and the new Junior Bender comic mysteries, featuring a burglar who works as an investigator for other crooks. 
Hallinan, who has lived, on and off, in Southeast Asia for more than 25 years, began writing books while enjoying a successful career in the television industry.  He wrote songs and sang in a rock band while in college, and many of his songs were recorded by by well-known artists who included the platinum-selling group Bread.   
For years he has taught a course on “Finishing the Novel” with remarkable resultsmore than half his students complete their first novel and go on to a second, and several have been, or are about to be, published.  Tim currently maintains a house in Santa Monica, California, and apartments in Bangkok, Thailand; and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  He is married to Munyin Choy-Hallinan.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

[ Edited ]

Here's a great review of THE FEAR ARTIST:

http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2012/07/fresh-meat-the-fear-artist-by-timothy-hallinan-lakis-fo...

 

CriminalElement.com |

 

Fresh Meat: The Fear Artist by Timothy Hallinan

The Fear Artist by Tim Hallinan

The Fear Artist by Timothy Hallinan is the fifth dark Poke Rafferty thriller set in Bangkok, Thailand(available July 17, 2012).

 

An accidental collision on a Bangkok sidewalk goes very wrong when the man who ran into Rafferty dies in his arms, but not before saying three words: Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne.

Welcome to Bangkok, a city of many faces and a place where the old and the new meet, and the decent and the sleazy go hand in hand. Bangkok is a city unlike any other in the region; it’s one of those places that you either love or hate, or even love and hate at the same moment. And the author seems to know it inside out, as he also knows all too well the people who live there and those who just come for a visit.

Timothy Hallinan’s hero, Poke, has been living in Bangkok for many years, with his Thai wife Rose and their adopted daughter Miaow. He loves the life, he more or less likes the place, but like most of the foreigners that live in Thailand, he’s quite critical of the farang people that populate its more touristic spots, either residents or mere visitors.

It’s only a couple of extremely wet blocks from their apartment at the point at which Patpong 1 empties into Silom and the usual snarl of traffic, slowed by the line of taxis and tuk-tuks waiting for the sweltering hordes and their compensated companions for the evening. Patpong had its best days, if the adjective is applicable, decades ago, but it retains a kind of overstimulated, faintly gangrenous energy, and the street between the bars is jammed, despite the weather, with sex tourists, gawkers of both sexes, and the ever-present 10 percent of hypocrites who pretend that they came to browse the junk on sale in the night market that stretches down the center of the street and are shocked—shocked, do you hear?—to discover all these bars full of rowdy, half-naked women who seem unusually friendly. There’s no way, the hypocrites’ body language announces, that they’d have come here if they’d known what a sewerit was. They’re usually the ones that stay forever.

As someone who lives in Thailand, though not in Bangkok, I couldn’t agree more. But Bangkok is not only the nightlife and the temples. It’s also the big businesses and the people who arrive there from all over the country looking for a fresh start in life, and it’s also the children of the street; children that are desperate to escape their bleak destiny.

 

Poke is a man with a big heart, who all of a sudden has found himself in deep trouble, but that doesn’t make him lose his sense of justice and his will to give a helping hand to anyone who needs it. This time though he’s the one in need, and the only person he can really turn to is an old friend of his, Arthit, who happens to be a cop. The man will become his informer from inside the police force, but he won’t be able to do much else to help him. Thus Poke will have to look elsewhere. So he visits some old spooks, leftovers of the Cold War who frequent a bar without a name and whose unofficial leader is a man called Vladimir with a thick accent and a hearty laugh.

“Let’s go,” Rafferty says when he’s standing over him.

“Wery impolite,” Vladimir says. “No hello, no how are you? You’ve met ewerybody already. Except Alfred,” he says, pointing the cleft chin at a short man who has apparently lived on doughnuts for decades. The rolls of fat around his neck are so pronounced that his earlobes float on them.

“Nice to see you all,” Rafferty says.

Alfred purses his lips and gives Vladimir a Look of Great Significance.

“Like I said,” Rafferty says impatiently, “come on.”

“Is problem,” Vladimir says, shaking his head regretfully. “Money problem.”

“You don’t even know what I—”

“Before, when you come here, we have not seen you on teewee.”

“Teewee?”

“Television,” says Dr. Evil. He smiles. Janos, whose name Rafferty doesn’t remember at first, is doing his best to look like he doesn’t know anyone at the table.

Rafferty says, “Bye,” and turns to go.

But of course he doesn’t, since he needs them just as much as they need his money. Besides he pretty well knows that if there’s a way for one to buy his way out of trouble it is by hiring these spooks of old, especially Vladimir, who says that once he’s bought he remains so.

Some of the most entertaining moments we witness in this novel have to do with Vladimir and his buddies; people who know a lot, and who are willing to do a lot more for a price. Poke doesn’t like them at first, but as time goes by they start to grow on him. And they do have a code of honor that makes them more human than most, since they always take care of each other and their families if anything goes wrong.

 

Desperate times, they say, require desperate measures, and Poke, having found himself in a situation where not only his life but also that of some other people are at stake, has no other choice but to follow an unconventional path to make things right.

 

This is a thriller all right, but it’s not only that. The author, using the murder as the starting point, takes the opportunity to talk about what’s going on in the region: the Vietnam war whose shadow still seems to linger over the lives of too many people, the trouble in the south of Thailand, the greedy businessmen and the corrupt politicians who would do anything to win yet another contract and to make yet more money, and about the war on terror; an end that apparently justifies any means.

 

Papa Hemingway used to say, “Write about what you know.” Hallinan does a hell of a job following his advice

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

The Fear Artist  

 

The Fear Artist

 

 

Overview

Timothy Hallinan brings his critically acclaimed Poke Rafferty thriller series set in Thailand into the Soho Crime family.
 
An accidental collision on a Bangkok sidewalk goes very wrong when the man who ran into Rafferty dies in his arms, but not before saying three words: Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne. Seconds later, the police arrive, denying that the man was shot.

 

That night, Rafferty is interrogated by Thai secret agents who demand to know what the dead man said, but Rafferty can't remember. When he's finally released, Rafferty arrives home to find that his apartment has been ransacked. In the days that follow, he realizes he's under surveillance.

 

The second time men in uniform show up at his door, he manages to escape the building and begins a new life as a fugitive. As he learns more about his situation, it becomes apparent that he's been caught on the margins of the war on terror, and that his opponent is a virtuoso artist whose medium is fear.

 

 

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

SPIES AND TIGERS

 

by Timothy Hallinan

 

 

At one point in my fifth Poke Rafferty novel, The Fear Artist, my hero, the American travel journalist Poke Rafferty, needs to buy himself an ally.  He's been driven underground by a totally happenstance occurrence that's put him in the sights of the War on Terror, and he knows that some of the people who are looking for him are spies.  What he needs, Poke decides, is a spy.

 

And, as it happens, he knows exactly where to go. 

 

The place he seeks out his reinforcements is, in the book, a nameless bar, but it's based on a very real one called Lucy's Tiger Den.  When the Cold War thawed, it left a lot of spies stranded in Southeast Asia, and they rolled—as loose things tend to—downhill to Bangkok.  It's hard to get an accurate estimate, spies being as addicted to secrecy as they are, but I know several longtime Bangkok residents who put the city's population of freelance spooks at about 900.

 

And Lucy's was where they hung out.  Over shots of cheap, raw Mekong Whiskey, rebottled as Johnnie Walker Black, and artillery-size bottles of skunky, highly alcoholic Singha Beer, men who would have killed each other on sight in the sixties and seventies swapped war stories, refighting ambushes gone awry, honeypots that didn't catch a bear. 

 

And learning, for example (in one instance when I was present),  that the food poisoning that almost killed one American was intentionally administered by the former Soviet sitting opposite him, via the American's personal Vietnamese cook.  Once the claim had been established, cross-questioned, and demonstrated to be true, both of them laughed like hell.

 

Lucy's is closed now, and the spies have gone elsewhere.  Too many curious people heard about it and showed up, muggles at the wizards' feast, so the former enemies moved on together.  In my book their new haunt is described like this:  

 

“It's probably not actually called the No-Name Bar, but no name is visible from the sleepy soi outside. Just a stretch of stucco the color of cream with dirt stirred into it and a pair of the smoked-glass doors that are ubiquitous among Bangkok’s shadier business establishments. The soi itself is almost as featureless as the stucco wall: a thin seam of asphalt too narrow for two cars, framed by a sidewalk of tilting, badly set paving stones that are interrupted every now and then by one of those peculiarly Bangkok trees, wizened, largely leaf-free little spindles that look like they’d be more comfortable bent over a walker. Trees that look like they’ve got a cough.”

 

You understand that I'm not saying it actually looks like that (although it may).  Anyway, Poke ducks inside friendless and emerges with two of the best friends money can buy, a former Soviet named (perhaps) Vladimir and a generic European whose name no one can ever remember, although he claims it's Janos. 

 

They're the two least trustworthy people Poke has ever met, but they're all he has.  One of several questions the book eventually answers is whether they're better than nothing.

 

(The Fear Artist comes out September 17, 2012 from Soho Crime.  It's received starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly, which called it “heart-rending and unforgettable,” and Booklist which said it is“simply the best of a fine series of thrillers set in one of the world’s most exotic locales.”)

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maxcat
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Hi, Tim, I loved your blog. I will be interested in checking out your books in the bookstore. I'm glad you are here on the forum today.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

I think Tim will be joining us at some point, so I'm going to toss out a question. What first drew you to Bangkok? How did this series come about? (Maybe I should say, what inspired you to write it?)

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Ryan_G
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Thailand is one of the few countries I haven't seen as a setting for a mystery book I've read.  I'm really curious to know more about the book.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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thallinan
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Thanks so much, Maxcat -- it's a privilege to be here, and I'm grateful to Becke for inviting me.  If you read any of the Poke books, I hope you like them.

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thallinan
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Hi, Becke --

 

Sorry to have taken so long.  I've been on tour, one city a day, and in the air half the time.

 

I first went to Bangkok by accident.  I was in japan, working on a PBS series about the first Japanese tour by a Western symphony orchestra (the LA Philharmonic), and I was going to take three weeks off when the production wrapped.  But it was the coldest February in decades, and I don't do cold, so I called my travel agent (remember travel agents?) and asked her to book me someplace warm where I wouldn't need a visa.  That was Thailand.  And I got there and fell in love with it, especially the people.

 

The series came to me on New Year's Eve 2003 (I think).  I decided to walk as much of the city as I could, and everywhere I went people -- even very poor people -- offered to share their food and drink and company with me.  About sunrise I began to wonder why no one wrote about the experience of Thailand (or anywhere, really) outside the usual tourist topiary, and within about four minutes I had Poke, and one minute later Rose, and another minute later, Miaow.  Miaow is based on a real street child who used to peer through a restaurant window to watch me write (actually, she was itching to get to my laptop, which was somewhat unusual in those days.  I invited her in, bought all her gum, showed her pinball on the computer, and gave her an hour with it.  After that, she came back every now and then for a couple of years and then disappeared.

 

Miaow was her name, and when Poke's little family (which is what I care most about in the books) came to me, she was an essential part of it.

 

Thanks for asking.

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thallinan
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Well, Ryan, I hope you like it.  Love the Lady of Shallott quote--the subject of my very favorite pre-Raphaelite painting.  Or maybe my second-favorite.

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!


thallinan wrote:

Thanks so much, Maxcat -- it's a privilege to be here, and I'm grateful to Becke for inviting me.  If you read any of the Poke books, I hope you like them.


Hi Tim - I can't get your official "Author" tag until Monday, but from that point on it will show under your name here instead of "Contributor."

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becke_davis
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!


thallinan wrote:

Hi, Becke --

 

Sorry to have taken so long.  I've been on tour, one city a day, and in the air half the time.

 

I first went to Bangkok by accident.  I was in japan, working on a PBS series about the first Japanese tour by a Western symphony orchestra (the LA Philharmonic), and I was going to take three weeks off when the production wrapped.  But it was the coldest February in decades, and I don't do cold, so I called my travel agent (remember travel agents?) and asked her to book me someplace warm where I wouldn't need a visa.  That was Thailand.  And I got there and fell in love with it, especially the people.

 

The series came to me on New Year's Eve 2003 (I think).  I decided to walk as much of the city as I could, and everywhere I went people -- even very poor people -- offered to share their food and drink and company with me.  About sunrise I began to wonder why no one wrote about the experience of Thailand (or anywhere, really) outside the usual tourist topiary, and within about four minutes I had Poke, and one minute later Rose, and another minute later, Miaow.  Miaow is based on a real street child who used to peer through a restaurant window to watch me write (actually, she was itching to get to my laptop, which was somewhat unusual in those days.  I invited her in, bought all her gum, showed her pinball on the computer, and gave her an hour with it.  After that, she came back every now and then for a couple of years and then disappeared.

 

Miaow was her name, and when Poke's little family (which is what I care most about in the books) came to me, she was an essential part of it.

 

Thanks for asking.


Tim - Thanks for sharing this!

 

Are you still on tour? Will you be at any Barnes & Noble stores?

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BrandieC
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

@maxcat:

 

You definitely need to check out this series; Poke Rafferty is one of my favorites, and I've been anxiously awaiting the next installment!

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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

When I first saw the still photo for the Trailer of The Queen of PatPong(hope I got that right!), I thought it looked like a Thai version of the Kardashians! OyVey!

Of course, Thailand has been known as a hotbed of prostitution for years. Couldn't help but think of that song from Chess, "One Night in Bankok"! Have you always had a fascination for Thailand, Timothy, or was this something that just happened to pan out for this particular book? Oh, and BTW, welcome back to our forum!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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Fricka
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!

Awww, shoot, I see becke beat me to it with my question, and you've already answered that, Timothy! That's what I get for being a late-comer, I guess.

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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Re: Guest Blog by Author TIMOTHY HALLINAN!


Fricka wrote:

When I first saw the still photo for the Trailer of The Queen of PatPong(hope I got that right!), I thought it looked like a Thai version of the Kardashians! OyVey!

Of course, Thailand has been known as a hotbed of prostitution for years. Couldn't help but think of that song from Chess, "One Night in Bankok"! Have you always had a fascination for Thailand, Timothy, or was this something that just happened to pan out for this particular book? Oh, and BTW, welcome back to our forum!


My son's college roommate was from Thailand. I think he's gone back there to work now. Another friend of his was there recently, too - she said it was an absolutely beautiful country!