Pock Rafferty is a "rough travel" writer trying to form a family in Bangkok with ex-bar girl Rose and former street kid Miaow. When he is asked to look into the disappearance of an Australian expat after the Tsunami, he finds both a sadistic child pornographer and a Khmer Rouge torturer.
Hallinan clearly knows a lot about Thai culture and brings the seedy back streets of Bangkok to life. Rafferty is no hard-bitten Marlowesque cynic however. He is a soft-hearted would-be family man, trying to bridge the cultural and emotional gaps between himself and his new family, while not getting them killed.
Either of these story lines would have been enough. Somehow, Pock in his desperation manages to play multiple sets of new enemies against each other and comes out intact.