Read: Innocent Monster by Reed Farrel Coleman, 2010, 9781935562207.
Just not for me. Coleman writes well but the main character, Moe Prager, doesn't do it for me. I really like Coleman's Tony Spinosa books though; I think Hose Monkey is quite good and look forward to a third entry in that series. Megan Abbott had some online comment about Innocent that made her sound like she was swooning over this one.
Moe Prager has been estranged from his daughter, Sarah, since his ex-wife (her mother) was murdered by a guy out for revenge against Prager. The estrangement was all from the daughter's side until she calls him up to ask for help in finding a missing girl. The girl, Sashi, is the daughter of Sarah's favorite childhood babysitter, WhatsHerFace. Moe has retired from PI work but wants his daughter back. Sashi has been missing several weeks and Moe figures she is dead. The cops figure she is dead. The parents mostly figure she is dead. Moe still wants his daughter back and figures maybe he can find the body.
Sashi is only 14 (or so) but a famous painter. Moe asks questions of art types. WhatsHerFace and husband are lousy parents. Moe liaises with investigating cop. Moe meets creeps who despise Sashi and he work. Moe hires former offensive lineman for muscle work. Moe meets gal. Moe reminisces. Moe has sex with gal from Boston. Gal splits town. Moe reminisces again, and again. Moe cracks case and insane guy is found after suicide with evidence he killed Sashi. Moe is maudlin. Moe goes on bender. Moe figures everything out in the end. Gal comes back and saves Moe from a beating.
1.a. One thing that turned me off is that I kept picturing Coleman as Prager. I've heard Coleman at Muskego twice now and imaging his constantly smiling, bearded, and bald head all over Gal's naked body creeped me out. It felt like seeing a kindly grandfather picking up a hooker at a singles bar.
1.b. I hate when I associate the looks, voice, and mannerisms of an author with the main character. But, once it happens I cannot disassociate.
2. I'm glad Coleman did not create a wine snob with Prager. I reckon there must be a wine shop themed mystery series out there with a focus on wine not unlike those recipe mysteries. That is the kind of novel I do not want to read.
3. I figured out the bad guy early on. I felt proud of myself for that. The bad guy was not so bad though. Catching him was no great victory for justice considering he was probably helping as much as hurting. The resulting denouement is akin to Gone Baby Gone.
4. I learned the meaning of denoument in high school English class.
5. I bought most of the other Prager books in the series and may try James Deans or Walking.
6. Speaking of Megan Abbott, that blog of hers and Gran is nice.