Timothy Hallinan is no stranger to the Mystery of the Month club—every Hallinan book that has been reviewed by Whodunit columnist Bruce Tierney has earned Top Pick!

Hallinan's newest Poke Rafferty thriller, The Fear Artist, gets the gold for its intense pacing, great characters and "steamy and dangerous" Thai atmosphere. This is Poke's fifth book, and this time, Poke's witness of a murder on the streets of Bangkok inadvertently sticks him on the wrong side of the War on Terror.

Check out our 7 questions interview with Hallinan, who talks about being a wuss (his words), his favorite books and the Thailand setting. I love what he has to say about Bangkok:

"Bangkok is, as Maugham said about Monaco, 'A sunny place for shady people.' Bangkok is rich and poor, sinful and spiritual, noisy and serene, heartless and cheerful. And it's growing at the rate of one million people a year as family and community structures in the countryside break down. These people are handmade for exploitation. And yet most Thais manage to maintain a kind of equanimity I can only envy."

Readers: Of all the thrillers you've read, what has been your favorite setting?

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