George V. Reilly

Review: A Nail Through the Heart

A Nail Through the Heart
Title: A Nail Through the Heart
Author: Timothy Hallinan
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Harper­Collins
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 352
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 31 July, 2010

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.

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