cover image Street Music

Street Music

Timothy Hallinan. Soho Crime, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-64129-123-1

Edgar finalist Hallinan’s disappointing ninth and last thriller set in Thailand and featuring expat American writer Poke Rafferty (after 2017’s Fools’ River) finally addresses how Miaow, Poke’s adopted daughter, came to be abandoned and tied to a Bangkok bus bench, where he found her in 2007’s A Nail Through the Heart. But first much is made of Poke’s adjusting to being a biological father and teenage Miaow preparing to portray Eliza Doolittle in a school production of Pygmalion. A subplot about the disappearance of a friend, whose apartment is ominously filled with blood, goes nowhere. Well into the novel, Rafferty encounters Hom, “a filthy, ragged woman... crying her heart out,” who knows about Miaow’s past—and with whom Miaow has a predictable connection. Best are the sections told from Hom’s perspective, in which Hallinan sympathetically presents her desperate attempts to stay alive and her shame about the choices she has made. Atmosphere and character overwhelm the plot. Series fans will best appreciate this one. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (May)