“Street Music” by Timothy Hallinan is the final book in the “Poke Rafferty” series. Rafferty, whose real name is Philip but everyone calls him Poke, narrates this story of his life, adventures, and misadventures in Bangkok. This is a back-and-forth dialogue of events that constitute his life, as if having a chat with friends. At times the story continues in another perspective so readers learn what Rafferty does not yet know. Readers say goodby to Rafferty in this personal story filled with family trauma, family joy, and family love. Readers get to know all the people first, connect with them, and establish relationships with them; the history, the mystery, and the connections come later. Rafferty struggles to adjust to his ever more complicated life and to resolve long buried secrets from the past.
The strength of the story lies in the little details, the vignettes that provide the vivid background for events and create character and life on every page.
“The fine spun flaxen hair he was born with, absolutely straight, standing at vertical attention atop his head as though his toe were in a socket.”
Hallinan makes even an ordinary little incident important, interesting, and mysterious.
“She took a fall not too long ago, recently enough that she still hurts, recently enough that she’s still trailing the pink ghost of pain and her palms still sting.”
“Street Music” opens slowly by establishing characters and relationships, thus setting the scene for events that follow. It is filled with social commentary, personal relationships, and cultural nuances. Hallinan’s descriptions paint vibrant scenes on every page. I received a review copy of “Street Music” from Timothy Hallinan, Soho Crime, and Random House Publishing. Every word was a joy to read.