Friday, March 11, 2005

Save Moe!

I just finished Reed Farrel Coleman's new book, The James Deans. It's the third book with PI Moe Prager, but the first of Coleman's work that I've read. In a word, it's superb.

Moe is a great character, a refreshing change from the typical detective cliché. He's a good man, a devoted father and husband, a successful businessman. Like the rest of us, he's got his share of pain, but he’s not a dark, haunted soul. Even though he runs a wine shop, he only occasionally drinks.

Coleman’s writing is sparse and direct, with great characters and excellent use of setting. There are moments in the book that are very funny, elements of fine suspense, and turns that are touching and even sad.

Coleman launched a campaign at last year’s Bouchercon to "Save Moe," as his publisher was on the fence about whether or not to continue the series. It boggles the mind that this would be in doubt. If writing this good isn’t finding an audience, it’s hard to believe it’s the fault of the work.

Look for more of my thoughts on The James Deans and Reed Coleman in my next Chicago Sun-Times column. He’s definitely a writer to watch.