THE FOURTH WATCHER – Timothy Hallinan

THE FOURTH WATCHER is the second book in the Poke Rafferty series.

Posted on August 15, 2010

  No matter how hard Poke Rafferty tries, even  when he isn’t looking for trouble,trouble comes looking for him.

Poke  is the author of the “LOOKING  FOR TROUBLE” travel books that give readers ideas on how to  escape the beaten path if they are willing to risk being beaten.  More than ready to settle down with Rose  and their adopted daughter, Miaow, Poke has decided to abandon the  series for the domestic life he craves.

In THE FOURTH WATCHER,  trouble shows up in the form of a US Secret Service
Agent, Richard Elson.  Peachy,  who manages Rose’s housekeeping business, has
been arrested for passing  counterfeit money, money she got from a bank.  Poke
learns from his  friend, Arnold Prettyman, a spy, maybe, that North Korea is
trying to flood the world with counterfeit American and Thai currency  that is
so good it is difficult for even experts to tell the  difference.  Clearly,
someone is passing the notes through reputable  banks and on to innocent
customers like Peachy.  Prettyman warns Poke to  stay clear of this mess; Poke,
of course, will not.

In the  meantime, Poke realizes that he is being followed by people who take
their roles very seriously.  When he is attacked and kidnapped, he wakes up in a
garage.  A young woman tells Poke someone wants to talk to  him.  “…Poke sees
an old man shuffle around the end of the van, his  feet in cheap carpet
slippers.  The edge of the light hits his knees,  and then, as he moves forward,
his waist, and then his shoulders, and  then his face, and Poke looks at the
face twice before he launches  himself from the chair, shaking off Leung’s hand,
and does his level  best to break his father’s nose.” (page  84).  Poke hasn’t
seen his father since he was 16.  Frank had abandoned Poke and his mother to
return to China, to the woman to whom he was all ready married.  Poke hasn’t
wanted to see him and Frank’s appearance isn’t changing Poke’s mind.  Frank
Rafferty introduces Poke to his female abductor, Ming Li, the half sister Poke
didn’t know he had, and to a  box of rubies that Poke doesn’t want to know
anything about.

From this point things get complicated.  When  Rose and Miaow become pawns, Poke
realizes that a family created by blood  isn’t the same as a family created bybonds, until Rose teaches him  something different.

THE FOURTH WATCHER is the second in the Poke  Rafferty series; Timothy  Hallinan
creates characters better than most authors.  He doesn’t  let the reader forget that Bangkok is a character, too

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