A Nail Through The Heart : Poke Rafferty

  • by Timothy Hallinan
  • Narrated by Victor Bevine
  • Series: Poke Rafferty
  • 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Poke Rafferty was writing offbeat travel guides for the young and terminally bored when Bangkok stole his heart. Now the American expat is assembling a new family with Rose, the former go-go dancer he wants to marry, and Miaow, the tiny, streetwise urchin he wants to adopt.
But trouble in the guise of good intentions comes calling just when everything is beginning to work out. Poke agrees to take in Superman, Miaow's troubled and terrifying friend from the gutter. Then he agrees to help locate a distraught Aussie woman's missing uncle and accepts a generous payment to find a blackmailing thief. No longer gliding carelessly across the surface of a culture he doesn't really understand, suddenly Poke is plodding through dark and unfamiliar terrain - and everything and everyone he loves is in terrible danger.

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What the Critics Say

"Don't miss your chance to read [A Nail Through the Heart ] before it starts winning all its awards.... every page shimmers with life and light. Hallinan's is a writer's writer, and this is great stuff!" (John Lescroart)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Ever been to Bangkok?

I gave this book to a friend of mine, who said that it made her feel like she was in Bangkok. And, she's been there. The tragedy of Northern Thai children being sold into prostitution by their farmer fathers has never been explored with such empathy as Tim Hallinan summons up. The small family of Poke Rafferty, his wife Rose and their adopted street urchin Miaow struggles to survive and thrive in the very real Bangkok, where the super-rich own the country while thousands of beggar-children work the streets for bhat, one of which equals about forty cents, I believe. Tim's writing is beginning to garner the lavish praise that he deserves, as his peers now call him the best thriller-writer working today. He is, though, much more than that. His sense of humor is peerless; sharp, LOL funny, touching and deeply human. His characters are people who are living through their own pain and pleasure in a way which most of us would like to believe we also do. Poke's love for Rose and Miaow is thrilling, too, in a way in which the tag "thriller" never achieves when other authors try it.
I don't know how the publishers found Victor Bevine, but he is perfect for Tim Hallinan's work, and I look forward to hearing him perform other books. His voice is agile, soothing when that's what's called for and exciting when the book wants that. His Asian accents are convincing. I know that Tim lives in Southeast Asia six months of the year; it must be that Mr. Bevine has similar life experience. He could not do these people so well if he hadn't been there, and not simply as a tourist.
You will love every minute you spend with this book, and with the other three in the series: The Fourth Watcher, Breathing Water, and, Tim's masterpiece, The Queen of Patpong. He is winning awards for this work, and he deserves them. Jump on the train and enjoy the ride. You won't be disappointed. These books will never be on the NYT top-ten lists, I don't believe, because Tim is writing for a small audience: us.
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- Richard Delman "I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get."

Wonderful Blend Between Thriller & Cultural Study

Having lived in Southeast Asia for over 12 years, I have to admit to having some trepidation about reading a book about a white guy named 'Poke'.

I shouldn't have worried. Hallinan offers up a marvelous blend of noir thriller, ethnographic study and a complex romance. I can honestly say I was engaged every minute of the 10 hours.

His portrait of Bangkok's seamy underbelly is spot on. And yet he takes the reader through it with enough of a detached eye to focus us on the central mystery. His main character is an brilliantly flawed, engaging and open man who draws the reader in and doesn't let go.

The story takes a serious journey into the world of child prostitution, abuse and pornography and the devastation it leaves behind in the lives it's touched. It also takes a haunting trip into the horrors of the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge. Hallinan wraps it up in a web of police corruption, Buddhist mysticism and the jaded expat's view of Bangkok.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Some of it is extremely gritty. But it is not sensational in its approach and well worth the listening time and the credit.

The narrator is perfect for the story. You couldn't ask for better.
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- Madeleine "Audiobook addict."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-01-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios