cover image Fools’ River

Fools’ River

Timothy Hallinan. Soho Crime, $26.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-61695-750-6

At one point in Hallinan’s outstanding eighth thriller set in Bangkok and featuring American expat Poke Rafferty (after 2015’s The Hot Countries), Rose, Poke’s Thai wife, muses, “People never knew until it was too late... whether the place where they pitched their tent was on the banks of some Fools’ River.” That noirish metaphor is central to the missing-persons case that travel writer Poke, who has a reputation for solving problems outside official channels, takes on through his teenage daughter, Miaow. Buddy Dell, the independently wealthy father of Edward, a school friend of Miaow’s, has vanished. Since Buddy maintains four separate houses, each presided over by a different “auntie,” his absence from Edward’s home is not unusual—except that it’s been 12 days. Poke soon learns that a dozen other men, most of them foreigners, have recently disappeared, only to be found floating in a canal with casts on at least one leg. Perhaps Buddy has fallen victim to the same criminal or criminals. Hallinan makes the most of his chosen setting, as well as the challenges his ethical lead faces to save a life, despite the indifference of a corrupt police force. Fans of hard-boiled detective fiction will feel right at home. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (Nov.)