The card game wasn’t supposed to be high stakes enough to attract the “Big Guy” but it did.  A simple poker game undercover operation designed to net lower level casino cheats, has drawn “Khun Pan” one of the richest men in Thailand.  Offended, he isn’t one to just let things go. A deal is struck and Raffery gets Pan’s permission to write his auto biography. He wants to do it without interference from Pan because as the French writer Balzac pointed out long ago, behind every great fortune lays a great crime.


For Raffety, interference in the form of increasingly violent threats toward himself and his family is all he gets. While Pan seems to be going along with the book project by giving him some controlled access to his life, others clearly are violently opposed to the idea. With his wife, Rose, and his adopted daughter, Miaow at stake along with his close friend police officer, Arthit feeling the pressure, Poke Rafferty walks a tight rope between opposing forces while he attempts to find the leverage to set everyone free.


Against a backdrop of race and economic conflict in Bangkok in particular and Thailand in general, Timothy Hallinan weaves a tale where the motives of the players seen and unseen aren’t very clear.  Third in the Poke Rafferty series, the novel brings the region to life in the way that only those who live there, as the author does, can do. The political and economic elements in the story are always present and quickly become a major character in the story.


That fact, coupled with plenty of action, intrigue and mystery creates a fast paced read. While it is third in the series and does cover a little of the back story familiar to series readers in the second half of the novel, it can be read as a stand alone if so desired. For once the promotional blurbs on the back of the book can be believed as this is a very good book.


Breathing Water

Timothy Hallinan

William Morrow (Harper Collins Publishers)


ISBN# 978-0-06-167223-1


346 Pages



Review copy provided by PJ Nunn, owner of BreakThrough Promotions, in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple © 2009


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