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Innocent Monster Hardcover – November 2, 2010

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Best-selling author Carl Hiaasen describes Mañana: "A … thriller that moves through Mexico like a scalded sidewinder As always, Hjortsberg delivers wild surprises, cool chatter and raw, unforgettable scenes."

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Shamus-winner Coleman's darkly impressive sixth Moe Prager mystery (after 2008's Empty Ever After), the retired Brooklyn PI takes on a baffling missing person case only because his estranged daughter, Sarah, begs him to help. In the three weeks since art prodigy Sashi Bluntstone, the 11-year-old daughter of Sarah's childhood friend Candy Castleman, disappeared from a walk on the beach near her Long Island home, the police have found no trace of the girl, who "skyrocketed to prominence at age four when her Abstract Expressionist paintings... began selling for tens of thousands of dollars." Prager, who encounters a host of ugly characters, including parents Max and Candy, who aren't telling all they know, and resentful painter Nathan Martyr, becomes increasingly sure that Sashi is dead, but keeps slogging along. His past as a cop, his guilt over his wife's murder, and his current career as a wine merchant make Prager a complex character well suited to handle a complex mystery.
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Sashi Bluntstone, the 11-year-old Next New Thing on the New York art scene, has been abducted, and Moe Prager—former NYPD cop and former PI—is asked by his estranged daughter, Sarah, to join the search. He expects only tragedy; Sashi has already been missing for three weeks, and Moe hasn’t been a PI for seven years. Now a well-to-do wine merchant, Moe agrees, primarily to attempt to restore his relationship with Sarah. He quickly learns that nothing increases the value of paintings faster than the death of the painter. Suspects abound: wealthy, self-important collectors; greedy gallery owners; odious rival artists; even the victim’s parents. But Moe abides. This sixth Moe Prager novel is pretty much note-perfect. Coleman’s take on the art world as a den of iniquity is priceless, as is Moe himself—intelligent, street smart, and tough, especially for a sixtysomething. He’s also sophisticated, despite seeing himself as a “poor schmuck from Brooklyn.” He’s a mensch, and his bone-deep world weariness and mordant sense of humor should enthrall lovers of old-school, tough-talking, loner private eyes (think Loren D. Estleman’s Amos Walker). --Thomas Gaughan

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books; First Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935562207
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935562207
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,560,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pastin on June 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reed Farrell Coleman is today;s best American mystery writer. I got to know him through The James Deans. I had no idea what I was in for. Like Raymond Chandler or Henning Mankell, the mystery matters but the people and the culture around them matter more. Coleman is unusual in that his protagonist, Moe Prager, ages and develops and is not eternally a 25 year old super hero. What is going on around Moe is what is going on in today's world seen through the eyes of a brilliant observer. In Innocent Monster Moe turns his perceptive eye on parents who live their lives through their children's real and imagined accomplishments, with a surprising and yet right outcome. Read it or miss one of the few books this year that will be remembered by generations to come.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Feit VINE VOICE on December 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A predominant theme of this wonderful new novel by Reed Farrel Coleman is guilt, something of which there is more than enough to go around, and which plagues several of the characters, not least of whom is the protagonist, Moe Prager. Moe [as are most New Yorkers] is still feeling the aftershock of 9/11; unable to deal with the murder of his first wife [from whom he had been divorced], seven years prior, for which he still feels responsible, and which.had in turn led to his continuing estrangement from his adored daughter, Sarah; morose following the end of his second marriage after six years, which had also caused him to close his p.i. office, in which his ex-wife had been a partner. He now, with his brother, owns several successful wine shops in and around the metro New York area, from Brooklyn to the Hamptons. All that changes when Sarah asks Moe to speak with a woman who was her best friend, role model and babysitter when Sarah was a child, about the disappearance of the woman's young daughter, a prodigy in the art world at four years of age, now only 11.

Moe, though now 60 and out of the NYPD for thirty years, cannot refuse his daughter, and he takes on the search for the possibly kidnapped child, now gone for three weeks; as he says, he is "back in the game," hoping that at the end there will be two daughters restored to their families. The title derives from something Moe is told by a possible suspect: "Beware the innocent monster, Mr. Prager, for it need not hide itself and lives closely among us."

The book is totally engaging from page one. The plot is intriguing; the characters well-drawn; the ending stunning. I've read most of Mr. Coleman's prior books and loved them all.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Max Read on August 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Innocent Monster" by Reed Farrel Coleman is a classic detective mystery novel. It takes place in contemporary times with the setting in New York City.

This novel is a Sixth (7th due out in December) for the author with the main character 'Moe Prager". It follows generally the same writing style as similar types of books of this genre. The story is narrated by the protagonist, Moe Prager and is reminisent of the old "Sam Spade" series where the detective talks his way though his adventure.

The story is about a child artist who is abducted and the twists and turns of events that occur as Moe Prager attempts to solve the mystery surrounding her disappearance. The setting in New York City (and Long Island) provide a vivid backdrop for the tale. There is an ample abundance of peculiar characters in the story that provide the requisite distraction from what really happened so the reader is continually 'pulled in' with false leads.

I thought the book was ok. It was written well enough to keep me reading to the conclusion. There was nothing particularly memorable about the novel. Moe Prager as a character is not an endearing soul although likeable enough in this story. I did have some problems with the missing young artist in that her character was not really played up satisfactorily. The reader almost has no sympathy for her and this takes away from the underlying motivation to find her.

In all I liked the novel. I would recommend it for a light summer read. If you are at the beach you can put it down and pick it up again and continue right along from where you left off.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Larry Wilburn on June 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Innocent Monster

Call me a slow learner, hard-headed or whatever term applies but I read my first Moe Prager novel, Innocent Monster when it was released in October 2010.
Slow learner or hard-headed because I met Mr. Coleman in 2007 at the pre-launch party for the LA Festival of Books at The Mystery Bookstore in Westwood and did not immediately become a fan. I remember carrying around a stack of signed books from my favorite authors who was in attendance and Mr. Coleman saying to me, "You need to collect me." Thinking he wanted to sell a few books I bought "The James Deans" and "Soul Patch" which had just been released. These promptly went and sat unread in my bookcases from 2007 until October 2010.
The dustcover jacket of "Innocent Monster" caught my eye and after reading the blurb on the inside flaps, I chose to give it a try, unlike the two previous offerings I had bought.
Mr. Coleman has been called a poet and I can see that as well as the poetic justice that he hands out in his novels. Moe Prager is a divorced ex-cop forced to retire after a knee injury and now a lone P.I.. He is a great character with a unique sense of humor, a lover of the past, the way things were, haunted by what could have been as he tries to restore a father's relationship with his daughter. Moe Prager is the best.
Mr. Coleman's ability to grasp the reader from page one is remarkable, the words flowing with the prose that keeps you turning the pages.
After reading "Innocent Monster", I frantically pulled my other two titles and buckled myself in for the ride. I have since purchased all of Reed Farrel Coleman's and am anxiously awaiting his next book.
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