Moe Prager Series, No 6
Reed Farrel Coleman
2010/ ISBN 9781935562207
Mystery / Retired Police/PI / New York Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First Sentence: Kathy’s blood was no longer fresh on
my hands and after 9/11 people seemed to stop taking notice.
It has been six years since Moe worked his last case; the case
that created an estrangement from his daughter, Sarah. When Sarah
asks him to find 11-year-old Sashi Bluntstone, an art prodigy who
has been missing for three weeks, he can’t refuse her. What
he didn’t expect were the dark secrets and betrayals hidden
in that world of apparent refinement.
Coleman’s background in philosophy and poetry are clearly
reflected in his writing. The story’s opening conveys the
mood of the story while providing back-story to new readers. Achieving
both, without bogging down the story’s beginning, is only
one example of Coleman’s talent. His style and imagery is
one which both tells a good story, but makes you stop and think
about what he’s saying…”There are lies to hate
and lies to adore. Even now, seeing it clearly maybe for the very
first time, Coney Island was a lie I adored.”
The strong sense of place nearly becomes extra character and the
dialogue brings the characters to life. Moe is a character I particularly
like. He is not perfect, has known and contributed to tragedy, is
definitely not a super-PI, but he is intelligent, determined and
has a wry sense of humor. He has an overriding morality and ethical
core along with a certain vulnerability. It is for others who are
vulnerable that he does his job; not for the money.
The book is very well plotted and engrossing. Exposing the dark
side of the art world is fascinating as is the reminder that we
should all “Beware the innocent monster” as the one
we don’t suspect is the one who is often most dangerous.
Although there is certainly a case to be solved, the story is very
much about Moe. Many of the issues in his life are, if not resolved,
at least confronted, acknowledged and accepted. This feels to be
a pivotal book in a series one should read in order from the beginning.
I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here.