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Hurt Machine (Moe Prager Book 7) [Kindle Edition]

Reed Farrel Coleman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

At a pre-wedding party for his daughter Sarah, Moe Prager is approached by his ex-wife and former PI partner Carmella Melendez. It seems Carmella's estranged sister Alta has been murdered, but no one in New York City seems to care. Why? Alta, a FDNY EMT, and her partner had months earlier refused to give assistance to a dying man at a fancy downtown eatery.

Moe decides to help Carmella as a means to distract himself from his own life-and-death struggle. Making headway on the case is no mean feat as no one, including Alta's partner Maya Watson, wants to cooperate. Moe chips away until he discovers a cancer roiling just below the surface, a cancer whose symptoms include bureaucratic greed, sexual harassment, and blackmail. But is any of it connected to Alta's brutal murder?

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Exclusive Essay: Quintessential Moe by Reed Farrel Coleman

The Moe Prager Mystery series stands on two fundemental building blocks. One of those blocks comes courtesy of the great William Faulkner who said, "The past is never dead. It isn't even past." The other comes from Joseph Wambaugh, the man who, in the 1970s, changed crime fiction forever and for better. He said, "It's not how the detective works on the case, but how the case works on the detective."

In each book in the series, these are the two forces supplying the fuel to power the engine of the story. This is never more evident than in Hurt Machine, the seventh installment in the series. Moe, now in his mid-sixties, is faced with the best and worst life has to offer. His daughter Sarah, Moe's only child with his late wife Katy, is on the verge of marriage. Yet two weeks before the wedding, he discovers that there's a cancer growing in his stomach that will probably kill him. Add to this the arrival--after a painful divorce and a ten-year absence--of Moe's second wife and former PI partner, Carmella Melendez, asking him to take on a controversial and wildly unpopular case. If ever there was a setup to explore the past and to see how a case works on the detective, this is it.

Moe is forced to battle two antagonists in Hurt Machine: the person or persons trying to prevent him from discovering the truth about the case and the cancer. All the time, Moe can hear the clock ticking away the remaining minutes of his life. When the end is near, the past comes alive in a way it never has before. So it is for Moe.


“Moe Prager's … first love will always be Brooklyn. Reed Farrel Coleman's latest book in a series heavily saturated with local color. Prager … travels the length and breadth of the city talking to cops, firemen, gangsters and restaurateurs in their picturesque natural habitats. For someone who reads people by the places they eat, drink and make merry, that's good enough to make Prager postpone his death until he solves this case.”
New York Times

"Razor-edged contemporary whodunits don't get much better than Shamus-winner Coleman's seventh Moe Prager mystery."
Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 387 KB
  • Print Length: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books; 1 edition (November 18, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0069ZH5E4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,283 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best in this series December 20, 2011
If you haven't read Reed Farrel Coleman, buy Walking The Perfect Square and start there. This series improves with each book culminating in what is his strongest book yet. Mr. Coleman has won multiple awards for his writing, all richly deserved.

The mysteries in all of them are excellent but his character Moe Prager and the supporting cast are what makes these books so wonderful. Following the arc of his life: his marriages, his partnerships, his daughter and his sense of self are all so richly felt and so alive to the reader.

When Moe is diagnosed with cancer (not a spoiler), he sets out to solve what he believes will be his last case. His former wife/partner returns to ask him to look into the death of her sister. As he proceeds, his past reenters his life. What is real, what is the truth?

Discover Mr. Coleman and enjoy some wonderful writing. You won't be disappointed.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hurt Machine is a twisted mystery... December 7, 2011
What is the Hurt Machine? People? God? Life? Private investigator Moe (Moses) Prager ruminates on the nature of hurt--of human pain, both emotional and physical--as he delves into a case he didn't want, the murder of his ex-sister-in-law, Alta Conseco.

Prager didn't want the case for several reasons; one is his unresolved feelings for his ex-wife, and another is that the murder seems the victim didn't deserve his help. Alta Conseco was a paramedic in New York City, reviled because she and her partner were in a restaurant when an employee collapsed and subsequently died of a stroke. Although Alta was asked to assist the man, she stated that she and partner Maya were on their lunch break and couldn't do anything, and advised that someone call 911.

Moe takes the case, not because it's the right thing to do, but because he's just been diagnosed with cancer, which is ever-present on his mind. Believing that he has little time left, he wants to spend it doing something that will distract him from his fate. The investigation takes Moe to posh restaurants, pizza parlors, seedy dives, Irish bars, and throughout Brooklyn, where he grew up.

Complicating Moe's life is his daughter's wedding a few weeks away, a girlfriend a state or two away, and the lies he has to tell all the time to everyone. Moe is a man with a conscience strong enough to bother him, but not strong enough to prevent some of the sins he commits. Haunted by the memory of cops he once worked with and an ex-wife who was murdered, Moe plods through his investigation each day suffering new indignities from the cancer eating away his stomach.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High-end PI plot that cries out for an editor June 9, 2012
By Dave
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If one ever doubted the value of a good editor (or even the spelling/grammar checker in Word), all of the 'digital only' books published for the Kindle vindicate their value in spades!

This book doesn't fall into that category, other than the occasional glaring examples: In one paragraph the point is made that it's 2:03 in the afternoon (and the time is significant) and in the next paragraph there is a narrative comment about "... this time of the morning..."

Maybe I should have rated this higher, because it kept me going until the last page and I just downloaded another in the Moe Prager series to read (though it was through the lending library, as I don't think I'd have paid for it), and it's a page-turner.

So why the 3 stars? First, Prager learns at the beginning that he has stomach cancer, and the rest of the book we get his "hard-boiled detective" patter mixed with his self-pity about the cancer. OK, the character has cancer and feels bad for himself - that's fair. But it's badly done, feels endlessly repetitive, and as though the author is just fluffing out the length.

Second, I have no idea if Coleman lives in, or is from, New York at all. But he paints it just like every tourist imagines it, which not only lacks authenticity, but is trite. There is not one stereotype he misses, and I don't mean just about the people, I mean about the neighborhoods and everything else. No, hold it - he misses one: Throughout the novel he drives, never once has a genuine problem finding a parking space, and the only time he mentions traffic being bad is when someone tries to kill him in a car. Moe may have stomach cancer, but the parking/traffic angels have his back.

When all is said and done, my frustation with this is that I think Coleman could have made this book so much better with just a little more care and time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Series - highly recommended January 28, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the 7th and last in the Moe Prager series but the first one I came read. I started reading book 6 and it soon became apparent that there were some major spoilers here if I wanted to read earlier books in the series - which I did, very much. So I set this book aside and read the earlier books in sequence. Now that I've read the whole series (I believe that no more are planned) I can see that I probably could have read them in any order. They are all about the past being still here in the present. I have no idea how the books were created but is as if they were all envisioned at once and all the pieces of the story interlock and are seen and re-seen from many angles over time.

It's a wonderful series, highly recommended. I don't know how these have escaped popular notice for so long.

Here's the series in order:

Walking the Perfect Square: A Moe Prager Mystery (Wheeler Large Print Book Series) (2002)
Redemption Street (2004)
The James Deans (Moe Prager Mysteries) (2005)
Soul Patch (2007)
Empty Ever After (2008)
Innocent Monster (2010)
Hurt Machine (2011)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like Moe Prager books
Published 16 days ago by Rosie544
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for dectective mystery lovers
If five star means that the book never bores and you want to read everything in the series, this is five star.
Published 1 month ago by Anita mallick
4.0 out of 5 stars good character
This is the first Moe Prager book I have read and it may not be the best, but all the hallmarks of a professional mystery writer are here. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
all his books are good, you cant go wrong
Published 4 months ago by harry marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars The Philosopher PI continues
As Moe Prager gets older and more fragile, Coleman may be painting himself into a corner, with further stories soon to be limited to prequels and flashbacks. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bemused Prof
5.0 out of 5 stars Moe is like a
an incredible read. Moe is like a friend
Published 7 months ago by Larry Tepper
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 9 months ago by Jerry Mattakat
5.0 out of 5 stars Moe is a character that easy to like
A fast read, Moe is a character that easy to like. I was born in Brooklyn and this was like a trip down memory lane. Read more
Published 9 months ago by JoeR
It is a good four and a half because of the ongoing question of"who done it". lots of possibilities pain strikingly followed by the cancer concerned excop.
Published 9 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars This book kept me going and I hated to put it down at night to get...
This book kept me going and I hated to put it down at night to get some sleep. I am looking forward to reading more of the Moe Prager books as I was afraid that this might be the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joyce
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More About the Author

Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR's Maureen Corrigan and the "noir poet laureate" in the Huffington Post, Reed Farrel Coleman is the author of twenty novels. He has just been signed to continue Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series and to begin a new series of his own for Putnam. He is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best PI Novel of the year and a three-time Edgar Award nominee in three different categories. He has also won the Audie, Macavity, Barry, and Anthony awards. He is an adjunct English instructor at Hofstra University as well as a founding member of Mystery Writers of America University. Reed lives with his family on Long Island.

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