I Read/I Wrote: Peg Brantley

In the I Read/I Wrote series, authors introduce a book they loved–in the genre in which they write–and share one of their own books.

GENRE: Thriller

I READ: The Queen of Patpong by Timothy Hallinan

“Those who clump thrillers and mysteries into a lower-echelon genre are generalizing from the worst of the books. If ‘serious novels’ were evaluated the same way, the genre would look like junk—and obviously that would be unfair. The thriller/mystery form is a time-honored structure that stretches characters thin enough to make them transparent, one of the primary purposes of fiction. Oedipus Rex and Hamlet are murder mysteries. Macbeth is a thriller. I don’t want to hear about ‘genres.’ I want to hear about ‘books.'” — Timothy Hallinan, on genre

The Queen of Patpong is book #5 in an amazing series based in Thailand, primarily Bangkok. Queen was nominated for an Edgar (should’ve won) and anchors the Poke Rafferty books in an incredible way.

I began reading this series with the first book, A Nail Through the Heart. The strength of the stories lies in how delicate they are. A tapestry that is both powerful and vulnerable, and expands with each book.

This is Rose’s book, a beautiful woman with a tragic past. She and Poke (a travel writer from America) have finally married and it seems like their adopted daughter, Miaow, a former street child, is finally settling into the new family.

Tim writes the little girl with unbelievable skill, and invokes in Rose a dignity that should have been shattered during her time as a Patpong dancer. If you read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and were blown away by his ability to channel women, you will be doubly blown away by Timothy Hallinan’s portrayals.

Warning: Don’t start chapter 19 just before you go to bed. Because you won’t.

I WROTE: Trafficked

Sex trafficking.

Not Thailand. Or the Philippines. Or Russia.

It’s America.

Rich or poor, black or white, girls disappear across this country every day, pulled into the nightmarish world of prostitution and drugs.

Mex Anderson is back, tasked with finding three missing girls before it’s too late. Three girls. Three girls who could live in your town, your neighborhood, or your own home.

Jayla is fifteen. A smart kid from a poor part of town who has to fend for herself. She’s headed for college and a better life than her mother had.

Alexis is seventeen. Money has provided everything she could ever want except functional parents. Alexis has the world by the tail and she knows it.

Livvy is twelve. She’s a middle child who dreams of being a veterinarian when she grows up. But right now she just wants someone to notice her, maybe even to love her.

Caught up in a cruel system fueled by lust and money, all three young women must find the courage within themselves to survive. And Mex must come to terms with his own loss and face his demons head on—or he might not have the strength to save them.


With intent to bring credibility to her stories, award-winning author Peg Brantley graduated from the Aurora Citizens’ Police Academy, participated in the Writers’ Police Academy, interviewed crime scene investigators, FBI agents, human trafficking experts, obtained her Concealed Carry, studied topics from arson dogs to Santeria, and hunted down real life locations that show up in her books. For more information, please visit pegbrantley.com.

14 thoughts on “I Read/I Wrote: Peg Brantley”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Claudia. Please gift yourself with Tim’s Poke Rafferty series. And if you find some extra time, I’d be honored if you read mine as well. But start with Tim’s. They’re that good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Peg, thank you for sharing. I admire your ability to choose such a topic that gets overlooked in our own backyard. Listening to npr and the occasional shlep of trafficking in America is disturbing if there’s a word to pin it to. Will put this on my list to read when the semester comes to an end.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Zowsters, Bailey. I know how crammed you are with reading material and I’m completely honored that you have a desire to read my book when you have some free time. I truly hope it justifies your commitment.

    Oddly enough, CPR has a copy of my book but I’ve not heard from them to help bring the issue to a broader audience. I’ve been on panels, not as an expert but as a conversation starter and that has felt good. CPR has the ability to bring it to the next level.

    One reader at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for visiting, Peg! TRAFFICKED is an amazing book (no wonder it won multiple awards) and so very important. Agree about the Poke Rafferty books 100% too. And thank you, Timothy, for the wonderful quote! Wishing you both continued success.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely column, Peg. Minor point: Queen of Patpong is book #4 in the series. I’ve been meaning to track down your books since I met you at Left-Coast Crime a couple of years ago, but life has been busy. 🙂 This gives me another poke in the back, thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love both books and movies about sex trafficking – it’s such a difficult subject, I’m glad to see you were willing to broach it. I’ll put this on my to read list and the end of the semester 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Cynthia, thatks for putting this program together. You are simply awesome!

    Everett, I tried to reply to your comment, so at the risk of duplication… OMG! You’re right! QUEEN is #4! Thanks for tracking down my books. I do remember several of us having lunch at LCC… Portland? xoxo,Peg.

    And finally, Whiney. (Again, I hope this isn’t a duplication.) Thank you. “Enjoy” isn’t the right word, but I do hope you find TRAFFICKED readable. Btw, I sent a copy to Ashton Kutcher. I haven’t heard back… yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ms. Brantley, I apologize for the late post–computer issues or operator error. Thank you for doing this, it makes us feel so privileged. You, however, sound as if you are not to be messed with—a little intimidating! I am going on a long train trip in December and will have Trafficked in my bag. Just reading the quote you gave us from Timothy Hallinan makes his The Queen of Patpong worth a try. You are so clever, chapter 19, indeed. Wink. Hope my book bag is big enough. I’ll let you know about Trafficked some time in January. Thanks again.
    Stephanie O’Brien

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Stephanie, my husband (referred to as LoML on Facebook and other places) and I recently returned from a train trip to celebrate our anniversary. One thing I can say is that based on our experience, Union Station in Denver is a jewel.

      I hope TRAFFICKED meets your expectations. With Tim’s Poke Rafferty series, start with A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART if you can. He develops this unbelievable lacework with both setting and character.

      Enjoy your trip and I look forward to hearing from you in January!

      Liked by 1 person

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