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by Reed Farrel Coleman
Tyrus Books, May 2013
319 pages
ISBN: 1440539456

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the eighth book about Moe Prager, Reed Farrel Coleman takes us back to the beginning as Moe attends the funeral of an old friend, weary from his own skirmishes with cancer and his daughter asks him why he became a cop. As it turns out the man who they had just buried, Bobby Friedman, had a lot to do with it.

Moe was an indifferent student at Brooklyn College when he went to bail his more decisive and charismatic friend Bobby out of jail. Bobby had chained himself to a paddy wagon at a demonstration against the war and against the official ruling that two fellow students who died in a car bombing were victims of their own radical activities. Bobby is convinced that the police have it wrong.

Moe is more worried about his girlfriend Mindy, who is acting strange, but insists he shouldn't ask her what's going on adding that, for his own sake, he should stay away from Bobby. Soon his commitment to the classroom is further strained when he sees a car speeding straight toward Bobby and is able to save him in the nick of time and, soon after, finds out his girlfriend has been beaten up and is in a coma.

"It was one thing to let myself be carried along with the tide," he thinks to himself, "to be going no place in particular except where the tide took me. This was different." The violence done to Mindy gives him new purpose. He has the slimmest of leads to follow and a drug-addled but connected friend who can help him follow that lead. What he can't anticipate is just how tangled the story will get before it's all over.

For those who have followed the Moe Prager series, this return to the beginning is a satisfying addition to the series, demonstrating Coleman's trademark humor, twisty plotting, well-developed characters, and an evocative and authentic portrait of the author's beloved Brooklyn. Moe's emerging identity as a committed investigator guided by a strong moral compass makes for good company. For those who have not yet discovered the series, ONION STREET is an excellent place to start.

Barbara Fister is an academic librarian, columnist, and author of the Anni Koskinen mystery series.

Reviewed by Barbara Fister, July 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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