For The Dead
Review: When travel journalist Poke Rafferty's daughter Miaow is chased through the dark alleys of Bangkok with her friend Andrew, trapped and nearly killed, he decides that revenge against the perpetrators is the only way to make things right, in For The Dead, the sixth thriller in this series by Timothy Hallinan.
Poke is at a good place in his life. For the first time in a long time, he doesn't have to worry about money and his family life is nearly ideal. His wife Rose is pregnant and his adopted daughter Miaow is doing well in school and making friends. To be sure, Poke isn't all that keen that one of her closer friends is a boy, and the son of a Vietnamese diplomat at that, but she's an independent sort. When Andrew loses his new iPhone, Miaow knows where to get a replacement quickly, no questions asked. As Andrew is scrolling through the files on the "new" iPhone, he finds photos of a murder in progress. Miaow wants to take it to Poke, but Andrew thinks he can help the authorities by doing a little investigating on his own … which leads to the chase in which they both narrowly escape being killed. To secure their safety, Poke and his family take refuge in the Vietnamese embassy while he and his friend, Arthit, a police officer, plan on how to deal with the situation … permanently.
The primary storyline in For The Dead is a strong one, solidly constructed and well played out … until the end (but more on that later). New readers to the series may well wonder how Poke Rafferty got to be where he is in this book. While there are references to his adventures in previous books, there really isn't much in the way of backstory to explain his current situation. But in many respects, it doesn't matter, as this is Miaow's story, and much of the focus is on her. Though it should also be noted that the scenes involving Arthit's own personal and professional issues are also make for compelling reading. There is, too, a completely separate subplot involving three homeless children, which has its own merit, but it really doesn't directly affect or influence Poke's determination to find the men who almost killed his daughter.
And find them he does. Give the author credit for creating a provocative ending. To be sure, it is consistent with how the story has unfolded to that point, yet it seems wrong somehow. Not wrong from Poke's perspective, of course, but wrong nonetheless. One could argue it lacks credibility, but there is enough foundation for the events that take place to make it plausible in context. Disturbing all the same. On balance, one of the better entries in this series and definitely one that fans of these thrillers will enjoy.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of For The Dead for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Crime (Hardcover), July 2014
ISBN-13: 9781616954291; ISBN-10: 1616954299
Location(s) referenced in For The Dead: Bangkok, Thailand
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For The Dead by Timothy Hallinan — A Poke Rafferty Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: November 2014
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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