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Moving Day: A Thriller [Kindle Edition]

Jonathan Stone
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,315 customer reviews)

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From the Editor

I recently made a coast-to-coast cross-country move. I distinctly remember the unusually hot and muggy day in May when a team of friendly and professional movers took all my worldly possessions and skillfully packed them into an 18-wheeler. I remember thinking: what if I never see this truck again?

That's exactly what happens to Stanley Peke in Jonathan Stone's riveting crime thriller, Moving Day. The premise is elegantly simple: a slick scam where fake movers arrive a day early and steal all your belongings. The execution by Stone is expertly done: I found myself flipping pages faster than a semitruck on a dark, straight highway.

At its core, Moving Day is a cat-and-mouse game between 72-year-old Stanley, who is about to embark on his golden years after a lifetime of hard work, and Nick, a clever con man who thinks through every detail. For Nick, the Peke heist is just the most recent of many. After all, he thinks retirees are easy targets—they collect on their insurance and move on.

Not Stanley. He wants his things back. He has lost everything before, and he doesn't plan to again. Even if it means tracking criminals to a remote barn in Montana with only a rusty spade to clear his way.

Thankfully, the moving truck with my belongings did show up in Seattle a few weeks later, everything intact and accounted for. In Stanley's case, things don't go quite as smoothly: his path is filled with haunting memories and dead bodies, past and present. But after he travels on this harsh and at times poignant journey, it ultimately offers him redemption.

- Anh Schluep, Editor

Book Description

Forty years’ accumulation of art, antiques, and family photographs are more than just objects for Stanley Peke—they are proof of a life fully lived. A life he could have easily lost long ago.

When a con man steals his houseful of possessions in a sophisticated moving-day scam, Peke wanders helplessly through his empty New England home, inevitably reminded of another helpless time: decades in Peke’s past, a cold and threadbare Stanislaw Shmuel Pecoskowitz eked out a desperate existence in the war-torn Polish countryside, subsisting on scraps and dodging Nazi soldiers. Now, the seventy-two-year-old Peke—who survived, came to America, and succeeded—must summon his original grit and determination to track down the thieves, retrieve his things, and restore the life he made for himself.

Peke and his wife, Rose, trace the path of the thieves’ truck across America, to the wilds of Montana, and to an ultimate, chilling confrontation with not only the thieves but also with Peke’s brutal, unresolved past.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review: Crisp, elegant prose distinguishes this exceptional crime thriller from Stone (Parting Shots). Nick, an accomplished grifter, preys on the elderly, but he grossly underestimates 72-year-old Stanley Peke, who plans to move to Santa Barbara, Calif., with his wife after 40 years in Westchester, N.Y. The day before the real moving men are due, Nick and his team arrive at the Pekes’ house “in crisp green uniforms, an immense white truck behind them.” The physically robust Stanley has started to forget little things, like where he puts his keys or his wallet, so he assumes he has the date wrong. After packing up and loading the Pekes’ possessions in the white truck, Nick and crew head for Montana. This betrayal brings back memories of Stanley’s horrific boyhood in Poland escaping the Nazis. With steely resolve, he sets out on a cross-country road trip to retrieve his stolen property. Readers will cheer this unlikely hero every step of the way. Jill Marr, Sandra Djikstra Literary Agency. (May)

From Library Journal

Starred Review: A scam, as slick as it is heartbreaking, binds the lives of two men in this cerebral thriller. When 72-year-old Stanley Peke and his wife Rose move from their longtime Westchester, NY, home to retirement in Santa Barbara, CA, the moving crew arrives a day earlier than expected, and the next morning—when their real movers arrive—the couple find that everything they own has been stolen. Despite his having insurance coverage, Peke—a Polish Holocaust survivor born Stanislaw Pecoskowitz—is taken back to the terrible loss he suffered as a seven-year-old child. And he wants his things back. When he realizes that the thief also got the key to his safe-deposit box, Peke devises a way to locate his belongings and retrieve them. Peke has not only the will but the resources to follow through with his plan, but he underestimates the resolve of ringleader Nick Pelletiere, as events turn dangerous, even deadly. While Stone’s exploration of the inner lives of his two adversaries occasionally slows his narrative, he takes readers on a spellbinding ride. VERDICT From the author of the Julian Palmer series (The Cold Truth; Parting Shot), this is a compelling mystery with a moral foundation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 8842 KB
  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477818243
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FN2KR3U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
160 of 172 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nuanced and deeply moving character study April 22, 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an epic struggle between a thief who loves to annihilate his victims, and a victim who refuses to give in to that fate. Although I wish there had been a bit more about Nick the thief in Moving Day, I realize that Stanley Peke is the real focus of this book; it is his story that must be told. As Stanley and his wife Rose drive across country to locate their stolen belongings, Stanley's past is slowly uncovered a bit at a time, and we see how his traumatic childhood has closed him off from everyone around him-- even the family he loves deeply.

Moving Day succeeds on so many levels: as the story of the theft and attempted recovery of valuable art and antiques, as the road trip tale of an elderly couple who've never seen the interior of the country, as a glimpse into how some people live their lives in remote sections of states like Montana, but most of all as a nuanced and deeply moving character study.

This is a compelling book that's marred by only one thing: the author's writing style relies far too much on sentence fragments. Sentence fragments work in small doses, but most pages of Moving Day have several. Sentence fragments that are lists, sentence fragments where the same phrase is repeated, or one word in the phrase is changed and then repeated. It almost became too much for me to deal with because those fragments chopped the flow of the narrative to pieces. But no matter how annoying it was, the story fascinated me, and I had to know what happened.

I'm glad I kept reading, and I'm glad I know what happened to Stanley and Rose. I just wish the experience hadn't been such a chore.
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94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More introspection than action May 4, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I chose Moving Day from the May Kindle First options because it was listed as a crime thriller. It was not quite what I was expecting. It does start out with a fairly sophisticated crime that was made even more grim because of targeting trusting senior citizens. In this case, the senior citizen has the means and ability to fight back. If you are a reader who always wonders about the motivation of others, this may be a really enjoyable book for you.

For senior victim, Stanley Peke, this crime is a catalyst for introspection of his entire life and how it has all been effected by his experiences before age ten. Not only does Stanley dwell on his own motivations and need to gain control and reclaim his possessions but he also dwells on the motivations and thought processes of the thief. The reader also gets to read about the musings of Stanley's wife as well as those from the thief.

Jonathan Stone has a crisp writing style and while I personally was not enthralled by this book, I can see where it would appeal to many. I think it really belongs in the literary fiction category rather than thriller.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Move on May 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"As if the Mercedes is being poured from a bottleneck of urban density
out into vastness and shapelessness, out into inexplicable space
and plenty". If you like this sentence, you will love this book
because there are countless more like it. Look at it: a horrible,
totally unispired metaphor of a car flowing like liquid out onto
the plains. "A bottleneck of urban density"! You don't pour from a
bottleneck, which is a blockage, you pour from a bottle. Why is the
space "inexplicable" or shapeless? The self-indulgent rambling is a
misguided attempt at poetic imagery in a cheap thriller. The author
takes off on these ungramatical flights of misty fancy to pad out the
slow-moving action. This clotted prose chokes the book, which has
one good idea (the crooks who move you out a day early) and lots of
bad ones (like inserting a GPS chip into a wristwatch, or the victim,
a Jew, dressing up as a Nazi). If you are looking for shapelessness
and inexplicable space and plenty, look no further: it is the book
"Moving Day."
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103 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Plot April 23, 2014
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book starts simply enough for a mystery/thriller. An old couples' furniture is all stolen by a fake moving company. From there it moves to a cerebral mystery that is part psychological thriller. The old man is a survivor of WWII and that fuels much of what he does and how he perceives the world.

MOVING DAY starts with a bang when the reader learns in the first few pages that the movers have stolen every material thing the couple owns. Unfortunately it then slows to a near crawl for the next several chapters. There is so much cogitation that the plot almost comes to a halt. After that, though, the book turns into a thoughtful page turner. The reader knows most of what will happen - for a while -just not how. The old man pulls off a coup that is believable and leaves the reader shaking his head in wonderment. The ending is a tad over the top, but still exciting and by then the reader is so caught in the chess match between Peke and the bad guy, the bits that skirt incredulity (not by a lot) are more than forgivable.

This is a very good mystery/thriller. It was only those 60 or so pages of crawl that bring it down from a five star recommendation to a 4.5. Still highly recommended. The brief slog is well worth going through to get back to the "moving" and smart plot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read. I am going to get a hard ...
The story is innovative and keeps your attention. However, there are passages (about how Peke and his wife are feeling and thinking) which seem lugubrious. Overall, a good read. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by Dev D. Mahadevan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful writing, exciting story, inspires those of us who are over...
This book is much more than a thriller- it hits close to home with examining what defines a lifetime of possessions and their relative importance to Peke and his wife. Read more
Published 1 hour ago by esm
5.0 out of 5 stars I was able to read it pretty quickly.
It had a slow start, but as I read on, it was very suspenseful and kept me glued to the story. I was able to read it pretty quickly.
Published 2 hours ago by jpic
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing
Good story and easy to read. A little difficult following the story and the characters.
Published 3 hours ago by David Kunkel
3.0 out of 5 stars The plot moved along but was rather predictable. I ...
The plot moved along but was rather predictable. I did not care for the short choppy sentences. It did make me think about how our cultural and ethnic values influence the way we... Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Opal Christensen
5.0 out of 5 stars This story caught my attention almost from the very beginning ...
This story caught my attention almost from the very beginning. Once I started reading it, I did not want to put it down!
Published 5 hours ago by Mrs. Ralph
3.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Harry's Septuagenarian Revenge: a movie script proposal than a...
Every once and a while you read a book that is not really a book, its a movie idea just waiting to be made. Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Mark P. McDonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving Day
I found "Moving Day" by Jonathan Stone to have an unusual plot and very interesting. I would like to read more books written by Jonathan Stone.
Published 5 hours ago by Della Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars very different, interesting subject matter.
very different,interesting subject matter.
Published 5 hours ago by lynn m manning
5.0 out of 5 stars I really do love this writer
This is a well written suspense that holds your attention. I really do love this writer. Will definitely look for this writer again.
Published 6 hours ago by dancer1015
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More About the Author

Jonathan Stone does most of his writing on the commuter train between the Connecticut suburbs and Manhattan, where he is the creative director of a midtown advertising agency. His fifth and latest novel, Moving Day, will be published in June, and has been optioned for film by Nick Wechsler and Steve Schwartz.

He has short stories in the two most recent Mystery Writers of America anthologies. His short story "East Meets West," appears in the collection "Ice Cold - Tales of Intrigue from the Cold War," (2104) edited by Jeffery Deaver. And his short story, "Hedge", appeared in the previous MWA anthology, "The Mystery Box", edited by Brad Meltzer (2013).

A graduate of Yale, Jon is married, with a son and daughter in college. For more, be sure to check out his website

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