The Portland Laugher (Thomas Black, #7)

ISBN: 0345397827
ISBN 13: 9780345397829
By: Earl Emerson

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About this book

The menacing phone calls from a maniacally laughing stranger haunt Seattle private eye Thomas Black as he lies partially paralyzed in the hospital - plagued with memory loss and a monstrous sense of doom. Black must piece together the shards of an investigation that nearly killed him. And through the haze of nightmarish recollection, he starts to remember.... A curious couple offers Black a strange proposal: play guardian angel to an unlikely stalking victim - Billy Battle, a brooding ex-con with a psychotic history of unproven murder and mayhem. Hot on Billy's crooked trail is the straight-arrow ex-neighbor who helped send him up the river, and who just may want Billy dead for his own peace of mind. Then the mysterious, diabolical laugher on the phone extends his campaign of terror to Thomas Black, convincing the wily P.I. that he's getting close to something. But exactly what, he doesn't know. As Black wades deeper into a secret world of sadistic murder and pure evil, he finds himself up against an adversary far deadlier than he had ever imagined. And Black can't help but wonder if the last, wicked laugh will be on him....

Reader's Thoughts


I wanted to like this story more than I did. Taking place in Seattle, it follows the misadventures of Thomas Black an ex-Seattle cop now a private investigator who is asked to protect an ex-con, Billy Battle. The story unwinds from there as a flashback from Black's hospital bed where he is unconscious and supposedly in a coma. The plot is complex enough but most of the characters, though weird, are cardboard and not really believable.The ending is also somewhat unbelievable but does tie up all the loose ends. I have another Emerson book in my inventory and I'll give it a try. Maybe this one was an anomaly.

aPriL purrs 'n hisses

( O _ O ). Yes, I guessed who it was, but never mind. Kathy, you are a fool. Poor Thomas. Definitely the bleakest one so far, also the most exciting and awful.


THE PORTLAND LAUGHER - ExEmerson, Earl - 7th in Thomas Black seriesPlaying guardian angel to a psycho ex-con and alleged murderer is no laughing matter for Seattle P.I. Thomas Black. It gets him battered, hospitalized, and stalked by a laughing madman playing a deadly game.This is my favorite of all Emerson's books.


Good to re-read this since we just were in Seattle again. Good characterization, good writing, good local color. Plot twists in this one ranged from obvious to a bit obscure. I see the author has written a few more in this series lately.

Dale Rosso

Great entry in the Thomas Black series.


Earl Emerson...why did I waste so much time on this book!!!? I kept hoping it would make sense. I really like your characters, the setting and in your other novels I even knew what the (blank) you were writing about! Oh, Earl....don't count on me to read the sequel!!! Sincerely, Perri

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