Former FBI agent and psychological profiler Robert Payne is on the trail of a serial killer. A 12 year old girl has been murdered and mutilated, and the detective assigned to the case wound up dead. Now Nora Conners, the girl's wealthy mother, has hired Payne to solve the murder and bring closure. After narrowing his search to three men, a televangelist, a honey salesman, and an art teacher, all living in the small Iowa town of New Hope, Payne begins to narrow the field, posing as a journalist.
That's just the start. As the daughter of one of the suspects joins the list of victim, and the woman who hired him is murdered, Payne finds himself on a race to solve the case before he himself is implicated.
Taut, suspenseful, and filled with the quirky details and character flaws that are the hallmark of Ed Gorman's fiction, Blood Moon is a wonderful introduction to a very memorable character. Be sure to follow his adventures through the other three Robert Payne novels, Hawk Moon, Voodoo Moon, and Harlot's Moon.
Over the last few months I've become acquainted with some of Ed Gorman's works. I've enjoyed my encounters thus far without being blown away - Nightmare Child and Murder on the Aisle, I enjoyed with reservations and now Blood Moon. For a while I thought this was the one that would knock me off my chair. Alas.
It's an interesting set-up. Ex-FBI man, Robert Payne is employed to try and identify a killer which his former friend and nearly business partner has whittled down to three suspects. His friend is now dead. (Murdered?) Soon his employer is. Payne works undercover to try and catch the killer.
I liked it, but just felt there were a few too many twists as we get to the climax of the book. It was almost as if the author was trying more to outwit the reader, with revelation upon revelation, shock after shock, as opposed to bringing the story to a cohesive and credible conclusion.
I'm not usually a massive of the serial killer type thriller anyway, with probably the exception of John Sandford's early work. Gorman hasn't really done anything as such to disabuse me of my reading inclinations.
Interesting small town setting, credible main character though I did get frustrated at his refusal to reveal his true identity to the small town cop he was getting close to. It irritated me after a while. The jig was up, she's onto you, ergo stop being a tool.
Plenty of unlikable sorts in here....... a creepy, corrupt TV evangelist, a floosy type hanger-on, a dodgy drifter also part of the pastor's posse, his alcoholic wife, and his dead client's estranged father, as well as some peripheral characters who get drawn into blackmail and victimhood.
Overall probably a 3 from 5. Maybe 3.5 at a push. I think the ending just shaved it down half a mark. I'm interested in trying more from Gorman and more from this series, so in that respect it hasn't put me off. I think some books you read and enjoy and they kind of act as fillers until the next truly impressive book falls into your hands.
Read - (listened to) December, 2020
Published - 1994
Page count - 320 (8 hrs 36 mins)
Source - Audible purchase
Format - Audible