Poke and his family seem at last
to have found stability. Poke
and Rose are married, and
Miaow, now a complicated and sometimes
difficult sixth-grader in one of
Bangkok's international schools, is
playing the spirit Ariel in a production of
Shakespeare's “The Tempest.”
Then it's all threatened by the appearance
of a nightmare figure from Rose's past,
who threatens not only the family's emotional
survival, but also their lives. Poke learns that
there are secrets buried in Rose's past, secrets he might not be able to accept. But the only hope is for him to discover the whole truth of Rose's long transformation – the journey into darkness that turned a shy, awkward, village teenager into the “queen” of the top bar in Asia's most lurid red-light district, Patpong Road.
Riveting, genuinely moving, and entirely plausible. Miaow’s entry into a stormy adolescence and her parents’ efforts to deal with it are knowingly written. Even Bangkok seems more richly detailed than in past adventures . . . The Queen of Patpong is a terrific page-turner, and the surprising denouement will thrill readers who want the good guys—or girls—to win in the end.
-- Booklist Starred review
Compassionate . . . a sympathetic depiction of Rose's life, revealing without condescension how a simple farm girl decided that the least bad of all the unappealing options open to her was to offer herself to a parade of strangers for money . . . casting an empathetic but incisive eye on a class of people often reduced to mere caricature.
-- Publishers Weekly
Hallinan takes his Poke Rafferty series to the next level with this taut, offbeat and fast-moving thriller....Sometimes funny, always engrossing, and undeniably authentic”
-- Kirkus Reviews Starred review
Thriller of the month” (First time any writer has had three successive books chosen thriller of the month.)
A literary novel and a thriller rolled into one. . . . The Queen of Patpong has some of the most suspenseful scenes I've ever read in a thriller, and the sociological aspects of the story are heartrending.
-- Harvee Lau, Birddog Book Reviews
Hallinan gets major kudos for his portrayal of women, one that could easily lapse into stereotyping. However, the women from Rose's past – friends, enemies and mentors – come across as very real . . . This allows a story that explores the tragic plight of many poor Asian women to end on something of a hopeful note. [The] Queen of Patpong is, in short, an outstanding novel.
-- Debbi Mack, Thriller-fiction.suite 101.com
The latest chapter in Poke Rafferty’s life is as searing a beauty as its three predecessors, and is expertly balanced between horror, humor, and hope . . . .Thriller fans who want something more than just another 'stacked odds' rundown in an exotic location should pick up The Queen of Patpong.
-- James Tremlett, Shuler Books Bookblog