Breathing Water

A Bangkok Thriller

By Timothy Hallinan
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061672231, 352pp.)

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

List Price: $24.99*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the October 2009 Indie Next List
“Writer Poke Rafferty and his Thai family are caught between two sets of ruthless men. One group wants to stop him from writing a powerful man's biography; the other group wants him to write it?their way. Hallinan's deft plotting, human interest, humor, sense of social justice, and atmosphere are just as strong in Breathing Water as they were in his earlier Bangkok novels.”
-- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI


Description

Behind every great fortune is a great crime . . .

For American ex-pat writer Poke Rafferty, a late-night poker game delivers an unexpected prize: an "opportunity" to write the biography of Khun Pan, a flamboyant, vulgar, self-made billionaire with a criminal past and far-reaching political ambitions. The win seems like a stroke of luck, but as with so many things in vibrant, seductive, contradictory Bangkok—a city of innocence and evil, power and poverty—the allure of appearances masks something much darker. Within a few hours of folding his cards, Rafferty, his wife, Rose, beloved ­adopted daughter, Miaow, and best friend, Arthit, an honest Bangkok cop, have become pawns in a political struggle among some of Thailand's richest, most powerful, and most ruthless people.

A hero to the poor and dispossessed, Pan is like a bone in the throats of the beautiful, sophisticated "good" people who own and control every facet of Thailand and want more. There are many who would prefer that a book, especially a sympathetic book, stay unwritten. And there are others who want to expose Pan's darker secrets, information useful in a preemptive strike against this profligate billionaire who can threaten their hold on power—a situation they will go to murderous lengths to prevent.

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't, Rafferty is breathing water and sinking deeper in a sea of intrigue with each passing hour. The trouble multiplies when a missing young street friend of Miaow's reappears, needing Rafferty's help to protect an innocent village girl trapped in a baby-selling ring. Pushed ever closer to the abyss, Rafferty has one chance to get them all out alive. But to succeed, this foreigner must do the impossible—keep a cool Thai heart.

Set in the Thailand of today's headlines—a nation of unrest, political uncertainty, corruption, and tradition, where the future looks dangerously precarious—Breathing Water is the story of a deadly game in which the stakes are enormous and life is literally cheap. The most compelling Poke Rafferty thriller yet, it is a journey that goes beyond the illusion of order and stability into a world where a wrong turn can lead to chaos, and where love and courage may not be enough to hold back the darkness.




About the Author

Timothy Hallinan is the author of nine widely praised books: eight novels—including the Bangkok thrillers featuring Poke Rafferty—and a work of nonfiction. Along with his wife, Munyin Choy, he divides his time equally between Los Angeles, California, and Southeast Asia.

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