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The Fourth Watcher (Poke Rafferty Mystery #2)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  534 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Travel writer Poke Rafferty is ready to let go of his Looking for Trouble series of travel books and the dangerous lifestyle that goes with it, and settle down in Bangkok with his fiancée, Rose, and his newly adopted daughter, Miaow. But trouble isn't ready to let go of Poke. Enter the one person Poke least wants to see in the entire world—a person whose emotional hold on ...more
Hardcover, 314 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by William Morrow & Company
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 826)
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The first book in this series, A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART, was flat-out awesome. This entry is a bit of a letdown in that it's just really good. The writing is pitch-perfect, but the story often feels bumpy and contrived. The first third of the novel seems more like a Hallmark family drama than a thriller, but, once the plot kicks into high gear, things get plenty intense. The characters aren't as likable or two-dimensional as they were in NAIL, but Hallinan always takes full advantage of his Bang ...more
Poke Rafferty is a half Filipino, half Anglo American living in Bangkok. He is a writer, author of a series of travel books with the title Looking for Trouble in... wherever. This is the second book in Timothy Hallinan's series featuring this character.

Poke has put together a family of himself, his fiancee Rose, who is a former go-go dancer, and his newly adopted daughter Miaow, a former street kid. They live together in his apartment and he is looking forward to marrying Rose and living happily
Rachel Brady
Aug 27, 2009 Rachel Brady rated it really liked it
I like to be teleported when I read and Hallinan's Rafferty books, set in Bangkok, certainly deliver. Having never been there personally, I appreciate the sense of place he gives, not to mention the unique family dynamic he writes for his main character Poke Rafferty. The Fourth Watcher has a dark tone, which I enjoy, with brief points of comic relief. This book introduced two new, well-developed characters into Rafferty's already convoluted personal life. I'm interested to see whether they'll b ...more
An excellent thriller that mixes the well described Bangkok setting and strong characters with a tension filled plot that never falters.
Shorel Kleinert
Sep 13, 2015 Shorel Kleinert rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, oyster
Still enjoying this series. Again, I learned a lot about a subject I wasn't as familiar with. This time the counterfeiting and other "mafia" practices of the NK regime.

Nov 22, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Very exciting story! Great continuation of the characters. I appreciated the way Poke let go of his anger toward his father--I thought it was reasonably and realistically done. Rose has worked hard on his evolution as a Buddhist!

The only reason I don't give it a solid 5 stars is the set up in the beginning--I just felt the book he's researching was a bit far-fetched, and really just a contrivance to get critical elements worked into the story. Other than that, it was a good story and I
Micah Goettl
May 18, 2016 Micah Goettl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exciting and fast-paced, but not a can't-catch-my-breath way. The action is gritty and realistic, almost blow by blow, which can be a bit dazing sometimes. Highly emotional.

My favorite part of this book is the emotion. The characters say things that could be so cheesy but instead it hits out right in the gut. It hits home. The love Poke has for his family, Rose and Miaow, and the loyalty to his friends. Even how Mrs. Pongsiri, the neighbor, has such quiet loyalty to Rose and Poke and Miaow to he
Feb 16, 2014 Stan rated it really liked it
I have really enjoyed the Poke Rafferty series, and it makes me a little sad to realize that having now read four of the books, I have only one more left to read. I sometimes get lost in his complex plots (this one involving Korean counterfeiting and Poke's father's dark past catching up with him), but I have grown quite fond of the characters in the series, including Poke, his wife Rose, their adopted daughter Miaow, and Poke's policeman friend Arthit. As always, Hallinan artfully creates the c ...more
Sep 26, 2008 Barbara rated it did not like it
Started out interesting, but went downhill.....
Sam Sattler
Aug 24, 2015 Sam Sattler rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Fans of the Poke Rafferty series will, of course, know that The Fourth Watcher (2008) was Timothy Hallinan’s second entry into the series. As the novel opens, Poke has decided that his new family (Rose, the former bar girl he hopes to marry, and Miaow, the little girl he plucked off the streets of Bangkok for her own good) is the most important thing in the world to him. He wants to abandon the travel book series he’s been writing so that the three of them can settle comfortably into a stable li ...more
Will Byrnes
Sep 15, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it liked it
Hallinan returns us to Bangkok and the world he portrayed so impressively in A Nail Through The Heart. As is inevitable in any series after the first entry, the freshness of the new has faded. I enjoyed the book, but I did not feel the gush of satisfaction that I experienced with the prior work.

Travel writer Poke Rafferty is mixed up with seriously unsavory types once again. But this time it is not the child sex trade that is at issue. Now Hallinen presents us with big league counterfeiting by
Ben Campbell
Aug 05, 2011 Ben Campbell rated it really liked it
What's interesting about The Fourth Watcher is just about everything. What's entertaining mirrors what's interesting. Turning the pages you smell the neighborhoods in Bangkok, you taste the air, you touch the people and you're able to photograph Timothy Hallinan's intelligence and movement while The Watcher's plotting unfolds within your vision. What I enjoyed most was the invisibility between fiction and reality in The Fourth Watcher. Character flexibility is important, as well as exposing stri ...more
Jun 27, 2008 Tripp rated it liked it
Poke Rafferty is probably the first mystery hero is also a travel writer. Following A Nail Through the Heart, Timothy Hallinan's the Fourth Watcher continues the adventures of the Bangkok based Asian-American. Poke who has succeeded in building a family finds himself in trouble with the Secret Service and unknown forces of the Bangkok underworld. Lucky for him, as part of research for a book he has been getting training from a former CIA operative in how to navigate the dark and secret corners o ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Fourth Watcher, by Timothy Hallinan, A-minus, Narrated by Victor Devine, produced by Audible inc. downloaded from

Poke Rafferty is ready to settle down in Bangkok with his fiance, Rose, and his newly adopted daughter, Miaow. But it turns out that he is being followed by at least two different groups of people. One group consists of his father, Frank, who abandoned Poke and his mother in America 20 years ago and came back to China to live with the woman he loved. With him is his d
Iowa City Public Library
Tim Hallinan’s books read so much like John Burdett‘s that it’s almost like one writer’s using a pseudonym. What they share is a Bangkok, Thailand setting that offers enormous possibilities–endemic corruption, dire poverty, a pervasive sex trade, and a Buddhist worldview that seems exotic and strange to western readers.

Poke Rafferty is settling down and has assembled an ad hoc family. He’s rescued nine-year old Miaow from the streets, adopting her, and his longtime girlfriend Rose has finally ag
Jun 24, 2008 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Poke Rafferty is a writer, who lives in Bangkok with his fiancée Rose and his daughter Miaow. He is looking to write more than just travel novels. Poke's novel titled "Living Wrong" is about living outside of the law. Poke wants some real life experience for his book so he has his friend Arnold Prettyman, a former CIA agent teach him how to follow people without getting caught. The only thing is Poke never realized that he would end up smack dab in the middle of a high stakes international thril ...more
Aug 13, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing

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, mo
Jul 25, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, male-author
Poke Rafferty is a writer living in Bangkok, Thailand, with his fiance, Rose, and his adopted daughter, Miaow. Poke writes travels books with a unique twist - travel books that focus on the criminal aspects of locations. But he's ready to give up the danger associated with these books to have a life with his two special women.

Enter trouble! And not just trouble, but trouble in spades. Chu, a Chinese gangster is after Poke's father, Frank. He figures to reach Frank through Poke, even though Poke
Sep 07, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've only listed and reviewed books that I've read since joining Goodreads. A couple of years before, I read a novel called A Nail Through The Heart which I picked up on a trip to Thailand. It was outstanding, easily a 5 star book and to be honest, it would sit in the top 3 crime books that I've read. Since then I've been trying to find more novels by Tim Hallinan. For some bizarre reason, they can't be found in Melbourne, anywhere. Hence my excitement on finding The Queen Of Patpong on my most ...more
Aug 25, 2010 Spuddie rated it it was amazing
#2 Poke Rafferty mystery set in Bangkok, Thailand. Poke comes face to face with a ghost from his past--his father, Frank Rafferty, who left he and his mother and moved to China when Poke was sixteen and whom he's not seen since. Frank is in trouble, and he thinks Poke may be as well, simply by virtue of his kinship. A well-connected Colonel Chu is after Frank, and he is a ruthless man who stops at nothing to get what he wants.

When a North Korean counterfeiting scheme affects Poke's girlfriend R
RJ McGill
Mar 04, 2009 RJ McGill rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all who enjoy a good story, with vivid, lush imagery & well drawn characters
Shelves: reviewed
To say that Timothy Hallinan’s second installment in the Bangkok series starts off with a bang is…well, exactly what it does…from that initial blast to the closing words you are immersed in the chaotic world of Poke Rafferty. Whether you’re an international traveler, well versed in Asian cultures or a homebody like me, The Fourth Watcher brings Bangkok to life. The vivid, lush imagery, believable characters and high stakes plot line will keep you turning pages. Hallinan utilizes every tool at hi ...more
Oct 24, 2008 Kevin rated it really liked it
Last year I had this to say about Timothy Hallinan's A Nail Through the Heart

[It] is a captivating and emotional novel. It is both an exciting expatriate detective novel and an exploration of the power of love and family in the midst of darkness and chaos. I look forward to getting to know Poke Rafferty better as the series continues.

Well, the release of the next Poke Rafferty novel, The Fourth Watcher, gave me just that chance. And Hallinan has met my high expectations and put this series on m
Feb 18, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it
The Fourth Watcher is the second book in the Poke Raffety series. Poke is an American who is living in Bangkok and writes travel books. He has formed a family of Rose, a former go-go dancer, who he hopes to marry and Miaow a street child. Poke's love for his family and Bangkok is strong though out the book. The characters are my favorite part of the book: Poke, Rose, Miaow, and Arthit(a policeman and best friend to Poke.) The city of Bangkok is a character too. One can feel the heat, experience ...more
Jan 05, 2016 Mike rated it liked it
Let's say three and a half stars...not as good as the first in the series but a solid read nonetheless. One of the problems with a series is you are pretty sure that the main character is going to win out in the end. So, you have to create interest with a convoluted plot or deep character development. The plot here is pretty basic but Hallinan does develop his peripheral characters and delivers some interesting info about North Korea, so all in all a good, if not great addition.
Mike Nettleton
Jan 14, 2012 Mike Nettleton rated it it was amazing
So I came home last night after making a few extra post-retirement buck dealing poker at a company party exhausted. It was nearly 11pm, several hours past my normal bedtime and I was faced with one of life's impossible choices. Fall into bed and begin snoring immediately, or finish THE FOURTH WATCHER, another of Tim Hallinan's addictive as pistachio nuts Bangkok thriller. Guess which I chose. I finished about 1am and realized I'd never be able to sleep with his adrenaline-juiced climax, bigger t ...more
Jul 14, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This author writes a wonderful story, with a style both easy to read and wonderful to enjoy and share. I find myself picking choice phrases or sections and reading them aloud to others, sometimes for language, and other times for content.

A good story and good description are nice, but in order to enjoy a story you have to suspend disbelief, and for that there has to be a basic truth that the reader can accept. For me, his basic truth is Thailand, and the humanity of his characters. The place fee
Jun 09, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, thailand
Poke Rafferty is one of the happiest men in Bangkok because Rose has agreed to marry him and he is going to have a family, something he has longed for since he was a child. He is planning on writing a book about spying and this will keep him in funds. He is practicing evading tails as experience for his book and now with the help of a former CIA agent he can spot up to three followers. Unknown to him there are others interested in what he is up to and he fails to identify the fourth watcher. Thi ...more
Sarah Sammis
Aug 10, 2008 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it
The Fourth Watcher by Timothy Hallinan is the sequel to A Nail Through the Heart (which I haven't read).

The return of a father long since declared legally dead in the United States, Poke Rafferty finds himself and his family in a dangerous tug of war involving the Secret Service, a Chinese gangster and North Korean counterfeit money.

The book is set in Bangkok and the city is as much a character in the book as the human ones are. Hallinan does a good job at fleshing out the novel with lessons on
Pat Harris
Jul 19, 2015 Pat Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Timothy Hallinan is a wonderful, engaging author that is way under-appreciated. This is the second series of his that has completely captured my imagination and attention.

What a shame his books are so difficult to find!
Aug 26, 2015 Squeaky rated it really liked it
I liked it and am continuing to read the series. Some of the material is VERY dark and depressing. I certainly would not recommend some of this series to the squeamish.
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I'm a thriller and mystery novelist who divides his time between Los Angeles and Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, where I've has lived off and on for more than twenty years. As of now, I've had seventeen books published by major imprints.

My newest, THE HOT COUNTRIES (October 2014), is the seventh in a series of Bangkok thrillers about an American travel writer named Poke Rafferty and his small
More about Timothy Hallinan...

Other Books in the Series

Poke Rafferty Mystery (7 books)
  • A Nail Through the Heart (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #1)
  • Breathing Water (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #3)
  • The Queen of Patpong (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #4)
  • The Fear Artist (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #5)
  • For the Dead (Poke Rafferty Mystery, #6)
  • The Hot Countries

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“action. He looks like Lurch among the ballerinas. The man has, Rafferty finally recognizes, a clubfoot, so put a check in the physical-anomaly column after all. The clubfoot is housed in a black architectural structure half the size of a tuk-tuk, the three-wheeled taxis so ubiquitous in Bangkok. So here’s Black Shirt, aka Tuk-Tuk Foot; him, Rafferty can spot. Okay, he can spot him. So what? Thought One is to lose Black Shirt first. Reduce the opposition numbers and then worry about the others. Thought Two is to stay with Black Shirt and try to lose the others, on the assumption that” 0 likes
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