Hallinan's first book is not in the Poke Rafferty series. It launches his earlier series featuring Simeon Grist, set on the West Coast. Here's a bit from his Wikipedia page (which could use some loving attention):
In the 1990s he wrote six mysteries featuring the erudite private eye Simeon Grist, beginning with "The Four Last Things," which made several Ten Best lists, including that of The Drood Review. The other books in the series were widely and well reviewed, and several of them were optioned for motion pictures. The series is now regarded as a cult favorite.Hallinan won a 2011 Edgar nomination and also a Macavity for the Poke Rafferty thriller The Queen of Patpong. The 2012 book The Fear Artist is coming to us from Soho Crime, where editor Juliet Grames must spend a lot of air miles (and reading time) connecting with great international crime fiction.
In 2007, the first of his Poke Rafferty Bangkok thrillers, "A Nail Through the Heart", was published to unanimously enthusiastic reviews. "Hallinan scores big-time," said Kirkus Reviews, which went on to call the book "dark, often funny, and ultimately enthralling." "Nail" was a Booksense Pick of the Month and was named one of the top mysteries of the year by The Japan Times and several major online review sites.
A good middle section of my day, for sure.
Quick postscript for proud Vermonters: In the acknowledgments for The Fear Artist, where Hallinan credits the musicians whose work enriched his writing during this one, he mentions Neko Case. We're psyched -- Case, who lives in Vermont's culture-rich Northeast Kingdom, is one of our local treasures.