Title: Moonlight Falls
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: R. J. Buckley Publishing
Publication Date: November 20, 2009
Paperback: 324 pages
About the book:
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 (if only to cover his own ass), Moonlight can only hope the answers to his many questions point to his former boss and not himself.
Moonlight Falls is a masterfully written mystery novel filled with plenty of twists, turns, and double crosses to keep any mystery and thriller buff satisfied. Four years prior, Moonlight attempted to kill himself, which resulted in a fragment of a bullet left lodged in his brain, seizures and blackouts. He is called in to consult with the police on the suicide of the police chief's wife. A few problems immediately present themselves to Moonlight. He was with Scarlet prior to her alleged suicide and he has absolutely no recollection of how he received abrasions and blood on his hands. As he is taken to the crime scene, Moonlight is merely there to casually look around and sign off Scarlet's death as a suicide. However, Moonlight cannot and will not rule her death a suicide and orders an autopsy of the police chief's wife. Suddenly Moonlight finds himself being set up, not only for Scarlet's murder, but also for arson and homicide. What has frightened the police, especially Moonlight's old partner, to make them go to extraordinary lengths to tie him to the death of Scarlet? Moonlight finds that amidst his interrogations by the FBI, the whole ordeal is generating more questions than answers on the question of why he is suddenly the focus of the homicide investigation. Moonlight Falls is an excellently written novel that will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end trying to fit all the pieces together.
About the author:
Vincent Zandri is an award-winning novelist, essayist and freelance photojournalist. His novel As Catch Can (Delacorte) was touted in two pre-publication articles by Publishers Weekly and was called “Brilliant” upon its publication by The New York Post. The Boston Herald attributed it as “The most arresting first crime novel to break into print this season.” Other novels include Godchild (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 or his blog.
Join Vincent Zandri, author of the thriller novel, Moonlight Falls (R.J. Buckley Publishing), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in February and March on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion! Vincent Zandri’s MOONLIGHT FALLS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘10 officially began on February 1st and will end on March 26th.
I received a complimentary copy of Moonlight Falls by Vincent Zandri from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.