Denver Post: “One of Best of Year”

September 29th, 2009

This just came in this morning — a review by Tom and Enid Schantz in the Denver Post. Tom and Enid are among the deans of mystery reviewers in the country, and this is a killer review. ย Note especially the last two paragraphs, which would lighten the heart of any touring, semi-exhausted writer:

The Denver Post

September 27, 2009 Sunday


BYLINE: By Tom and Enid Schantz


LENGTH: 755 words

Breathing Water, byย Timothy Hallinan, $24.99. Poke Rafferty, an expatriate American journalist living in Bangkok, wins the opportunity of a lifetime in a poker game: to write the biography of Khun Pan, a colorful self-made billionaire and a man of great power whose criminal past hasn’t kept him from being a hero to Thailand’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

Soon this dream job turns into a nightmare as Poke is told that he’ll be killed by one faction if he writes the book and killed by another if he doesn’t. Even worse, he realizes that he has put his beloved family in danger.

His family, which means the world to him, consists of Rose, a beautiful Thai former bar girl with a heart as big as Poke’s, and Miaow, a former street child whom the two of them have adopted. With their help, Poke sets out to thwart the bad guys, but it’s a losing battle until they’re unexpectedly joined by a children’s army of resourceful street urchins who have an agenda of their own.

Hallinan is a born storyteller, layering plot upon plot and twist upon turn, and, as a bonus, he’s a superb stylist whose assured prose continually delights and surprises the reader.

While Poke may still be struggling to understand Thai culture, Hallinan, who has lived in the country at least part time for many years, knows it well and brilliantly brings it to life. He also creates a large cast of amazingly well-differentiated characters, both good and bad. But most of all, he’s written a thriller with a heart that’s easily one of the best books of the year.


8 Responses to “Denver Post: “One of Best of Year””

  1. Sylvia Says:


    Of course, we already knew you were brilliant but it is nice to have it confirmed. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Glenn Says:

    Hey Tim,

    Great to see you yesterday in downtown Seattle. You’ve always been able to make me laugh!! The review is splendid and worthy of your work. BREATHING is a remarkable achievement and there will be more laudatory reviews to come….I am certain of that.

  3. Leah Melika Says:

    Congrats Tim!
    Munyin said that you were going to Portland. I want to FB my friends your info. Where will your presentation be held? I don’t know if they can make it but it is worth a try.

    Leah Melika

  4. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Thanks, everyone. These are particularly good reviewers, so their opinion means even more to me.

    Leah, it’s at 7 PM at Murder By the Book. I think the address is in the post called END OF THE ROAD or something, just two below this one. (I can’t look at it while I’m answering you.)

  5. Larissa Says:

    Congrats Tim on another stellar review. Many more of these and people will start to think you’re really good or something It’s nice when things get sent your way when you need them the most. It’s a confirmation that yes, all the sleepless driving through wandering roads and across front porches is actually *working*. (c:

    captcha: wingless Bemkc. Is it Evolution or Misfortune? News at 10pm.

  6. Lisa Kenney Says:

    Bravo!!! And I am extra happy to know the stellar review came from my local ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Andrea Says:

    Wow, congratulations again, Tim! You’re on a roll. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. karen from mentor Says:

    Hey Tim congrats on the great press!
    I just thought that since the review above left out the words multi-textured tapestry that delights the senses that I’d put my two cents out into the cyberworld….
    So I reviewed Breathing Water at B&N.
    Now get some sleep sir, you’re still tired.
    Karen :0)

Leave a Reply