Moonlight Falls is the Albany, New York-based paranoid tale (in the Hitchcock tradition) of former APD Detective turned Private Investigator/Massage Therapist, Richard “Dick” Moonlight, who believes he might be responsible for the brutal slaying by knife of his illicit lover, the beautiful Scarlet Montana. The situation is made all the worse since Scarlet is the wife of Moonlight’s boss, Chief of Detectives Jake Montana.
Why does Moonlight believe he might be responsible?
He’s got a small fragment of a .22 hollow point round buried inside his brain, lodge directly up against his cerebral cortex. The result of a botched suicide attempt four years prior to the novel’s start, an operation to remove the bullt frag would be too dangerous.
But the bullet causes Moonlight lots of problems, the least of which are the occasional memory loss and his rational ability to tell right from wrong. The bullet frag also might shift at any moment, making coma and/or sudden death, a very real possibility.
Still, Moonlight has been trying to get his life together as of late.
But when Scarlet begs him to make the trip over to her house late one rainy Sunday night to issue one of his “massages,” he makes a big mistake by sleeping with her. Later, having passed out in her bed, he will be rudely awakened by a garage door opening and Jake’s unexpected and very drunken homecoming. Making his impromptu escape out a top floor window, Moonlight will seek the safety of his home.
Two hours later however, he will receive another unexpected visit from Jake Montana. This time the big Captain has sobering news to report. He’s discovered his wife’s mutilated body in her own bed. She’s been murdered and now he needs the P.I. to investigate it in association with Albany ’s “overtaxed” Special Independent Unit before I.A. pokes their nose into the affair. Moonlight takes a big step back. Is it possible he made a second trip to the Montana home-sweet-home and just has no recollection of it? Once there, did he perform a heinous crime on his part-time lover? Or is this some kind of set up by his former boss? Is it really Jake who is responsible for Scarlet’s death? Does he wish for Moonlight to cover up his involvement, seal the case before Internal Affairs starts poking their nose into the situation?
There’s another problem too.
Covering Moonlight’s palms and the pads of his fingers are numerous scratches and cuts. Are these defensive wounds? Wounds he received when Scarlet put up a struggle? Or are they offensive wounds? Wounds he couldn’t avoid when making his attack on Scarlet with a blade? The answer is not so simple since Moonlight has no idea where he acquired the wounds.
Having no choice but to take on the mission, Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.
I grew up with mysteries being my book flavor of choice. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys may as well have been by neighborhood playmates, after all I spent a lot of time with them and they usually caused me to be late to such things as dinner.
Even as my tastes in literature grew and I branched out into other genres and explored the larger world of books, I still have always had a spot in my heart for a good “hunker-down- blanket and cocoa-curled in a big soft chair- mystery”. Enter stage left…. Moonlight Falls.
Moonlight is an unlikely main character…. he has faults…. big ones. Yet for some reason I really liked this guy. Through a storyline of not only trying to solve a crime, that he may or may not have been involved in…. but also clearing his name. Moonlight truly has his work cut out for him.
I have always liked the feeling a good mystery gives me….. the type before there were vampires and werewolves, and the occasional zombie thrown in for good measure. Moonlight Falls gave me that feeling.
I had picked this book up in the mood for a good thriller and Vincent Zandri did not disappoint. My advice to anyone considering reading this book is to allow yourself plenty of time to read the book and surround yourself with the basic necessity’s (food and water) because once you hop on this thrill ride of a book you are not going to want to let go until it screeches to a halt at the satisfying end of the ride.
About Vince Zandri
Vincent Zandri is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch CanGodchild (Bantam/Dell) and Permanence (NPI). Translated into several languages including Japanese and the Dutch, Zandri’s novels have also been sought out by numerous major movie producers, including Heyday Productions and DreamWorks. Moonlight Falls is his fourth novel. He is the author of the blogs, Dangerous Dispatches and Embedded in Africa for RT ( Russia Today TV) which have been syndicated and translated in several different languages throughout the world. He also writes for other global publications, including Culture 11, Globalia, Globalspec and more. Zandri’s nonfiction has appeared in New York Newsday, Hudson Valley Magazine, Game and Fish Magazine and others, while his essays and short fiction have been featured in many journals including Fugue, Maryland Review and Orange Coast Magazine. He holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College and is a 2010 International Thrillerl. Writer’s Awards panel judge. Zandri currently divides his time between New York and Europe. He is the drummer for the Albany-based punk band to Blisterz. You can visit his website at www.vincentzandri.com or his blog at www.vincentzandri.blogspot.com.
I received my copy of this book for review from Pump Up You Blog Tour