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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*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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