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Walking the Perfect Square: A Novel (Moe Prager Mysteries) Hardcover – February 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Permanent Press (NY); First Edition edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579620396
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579620394
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #874,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Raymond Chandler once advised that when things get slow in a story, have a man with a gun come through the door. What's most remarkable about Coleman's first mystery to feature Brooklyn PI Moe Praeger (after three Dylan Klein noirs: Little Easter, etc.) is that he never resorts to such a crude device. Rooted in the late 1970s, the story is so solid, the characters so compelling, the pace so expertly driven that he can dispense with the usual genre stitches. If the one murder in the book occurs off-stage, there's no lack of suspense. The author makes us care about his characters and what happens to them, conveying a real sense of human absurdity and tragedy, of the price people will pay to get ahead or hide their true selves. Moe's job he's an ex-cop forced to retire because of a knee injury is to find the son of another cop, a young man who left a party one night and hasn't been seen since. So many people have been searching for Patrick Mahoney in the 20 years since his disappearance that Moe doesn't expect to be successful. As his investigation proceeds, he finds himself looking for two Patricks: one a choir boy lookalike and the other described by those who knew him as "weird" and "strange." But why? Is it possible Patrick's father really doesn't want to find his son? Patrick stands at the core of the novel, and the intricate tale of what happened to him makes for a first-rate mystery. Moe is a fine sleuth. Coleman is an excellent writer. (Dec.)Forecast: The misleading title and inappropriate jacket art won't help, but praise from a few big name authors could give a real boost to this series down the line.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Among the undying conventions of detective fiction is the one that requires every retired cop to have a case that still haunts him. Reed Farrel Coleman blows the dust off that cliche in Walking the Perfect Square with a mystery that would get under anyone's skin." -- Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"Reed Farrel Coleman is a terrific writer... a hard-boiled poet... If life were fair, Coleman would be as celebrated as [George] Pelecanos and [Michael] Connelly." -- Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

"Reed Farrel Coleman is one of the more original voices to emerge from the crime fiction field in the last ten years. For the uninitiated, Walking the Perfect Square is the place to start." -- George Pelecanos, best-selling author of The Way Home
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

This is a very good novel featuring a number of interesting characters.
Kevin Tipple
I will definitely read another in the series, and recommend it to our library mystery book group as a monthly selection to read and discuss.
L. M. Keefer
Reed Farrel Coleman is an excellent writer and this series is a must-read for any noir fan.
J. DAVIDSON

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Tipple VINE VOICE on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
On December 8, 1977 Patrick Maloney, Jr., college student, walked out of a local bar and vanished. As 19977 became 1978 other things in New York City like the arrest of the Son of Sam killer garner media attention. For recently retired Police Officer Moe Prager, the disappearance of Patrick Maloney, Jr. is insignificant and no different than many of the ills that befall the city's population. Not that Patrick isn't important in his own right, but Moe has more on his mind thanks to a ruined knee and is facing limited prospects and a lonely life.
At relative loose ends when his friend and still a cop Rico Tripoli calls, he agrees to meet him for lunch at a local restaurant. Rico wants to talk to him about looking for Patrick. Once there, despite the obvious racism of the missing man's powerful father, Patrick Maloney, he agrees to start working the case in exchange for a favor regarding a much needed liquor license. Moe's brother wants him to go in with him on a wine shop and without any other options Moe has sort of agreed to do so. As he begins working the case, he realizes that he has missed the streets and soon discovers that everyone involved is lying to him. Nothing is the way he thought it was with his enemies or his friends.
Twenty years later the case still haunts him and a call from a Nun in a local hospice brings it all back to life. A man is dying and wishes to unburden himself and will only do so to Me Prager. He may finally get the last piece of the painful puzzle that has haunted him for years and nearly destroyed his family.
This is a very good novel featuring a number of interesting characters. The read is a little disconcerting at times as it moves back and forth between 1977 and 78, and the present (1998).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Simpson on March 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Once again, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in an absolute knock out of a thriller involving a search that has profound effects on so many lives and asking "Who is this Reed Farrel Coleman?" The jacket tells me that he has written several other books, but I never heard of the author. If his other works were anywhere near as good as this one, Mr. Coleman should now have become as well known as Ed McBain. I am absolutely certain that after you read this superbly written and marvelously paced book you will agree that his publisher has been derelict in hiding Mr. Coleman's brilliant light. You will then spread the word to everyone that will listen. An absolute must read!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 30, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Moses 'Moe' Prager, the protag. of Reed Farrel Coleman's "Walking the Perfect Square" is a real stand up guy. He measures up with the best characters from the Noir canon.
An ex-cop with one bad leg and too much time on his hands makes the kind of p.i. you can count on. He's seen a lot and can put two and two together. Hey you do the math!
If you miss the "Rockford" or "Columbo" type mysteries, love NY or just want a story that goes down smooth give this one a spin!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeff VINE VOICE on November 22, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The prior reviewers have done a good job. I will just add a very enthusiastic additional vote for buying this book as soon as you can. It is so well constructed compared to most of its competitors.

I was left with a feeling of 'When can I get me hands on the next one?' when I finished this book. I would have read both back to back if I had the second one today.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 8, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Though I've been a lifelong reader of mysteries, I was never a big fan of hardboiled detective stories. I loved the atmosphere, but found the characters lacking. Well, Reed Coleman has solved that problem and brought us a wonderful new detective, Moses "Moe" Prager. Forced out of the NYPD before he could get his detective's shield because of a blown knee, Prager has reluctantly gone into the wine business with his brother. When a close friend asks him to help with a missing persons case, it's Moe's chance to get away from retail for a bit and try his hand at a real case. Patrick Maloney was at a party when he walked outside and was never seen again. Though he immediately dislikes Patrick's father, Moe decides to take the case, but right away thinks things aren't quite right. Why do the posters all over town show Patrick's prom photo, when his appearance has changed quite a bit since then? Why is Patrick's father so hostile? Is Patrick dead, or did he run away?

Moe's narrative voice is exquisite. It has all the intrigue and weary sarcasm of Philip Marlowe, but rather than being a lone wolf, Moe is a family man -- he has a brother and sister and actual friends! He is wary but hasn't given up on the world quite yet. I like this character very much.

Another element I truly enjoyed about this novel is that I've been reading Scandinavian thrillers for several years now, like many people drawn in by the Dragon Tattoo series, and one of the things I love about them is that there's often a more complex structure than just a chronological telling of the story, and Coleman pulls that off too. The story is told as it occurred in 1978 (and the times are magnificently captured in Moe's description of the Son of Sam summer, etc.
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