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Bad Moon (Kat Campbell Mysteries) Hardcover – October 11, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Kat Campbell Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Compelling ... Ritter does a fine job evoking the dreams, mores, and political upheavals of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, along with the evolution of the U.S. space program and its deceleration in the 2010s. Readers will find themselves ensnared by this unusual tale of love, loss, enduring pain, and betrayal." -- Publishers Weekly

"Ritter sets the scene using the moon landings as the basis for a succession of crimes and keeps the reader guessing about the final outcome. His fully developed characters complement the flawless pacing." - RT Book Reviews

"(It) draws you in irresistibly and doesn't spit you out till the very end, your head spinning with surprising revelations." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Ritter's second outing (after Death Notice) will captivate readers with a tone reminiscent of John Hart (Down River) and Chelsea Cain (The Night Season)." - Library Journal (starred review)

"An adroit puzzler with a genuinely surprising ending." - Booklist

A Special Review of BAD MOON from New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Unger

It’s July 20, 1969, and we return to Perry Hollow in a dreamy, shimmering opening scene where Neil Armstrong is making history.  But as the television in the Olmstead living room casts its eerie light, a much bigger drama is unfolding. Ten-year-old Charlie has taken off on his bicycle, certain that he can see the astronaut bouncing along the surface of the glowing full moon.  He doesn’t come home.  And on that night, when the world was staring in wonder at the heavens, Charlie’s mother was running through the streets of Perry Hollows, looking for her son.  She never found him.

For a mother, the loss of a child is a far more impacting event than the first moonwalk. And though the authorities and the rest of the town thought that Charlie was lost to an accident that night – his mother Maggie never believed it.  She spent her whole life secretly searching for her son, for some kind of closure that never came.  In BAD MOON, Todd Ritter’s compelling follow-up to last year’s acclaimed DEATH NOTICE, most everyone is carrying that same burden, looking for answers that may or may not ever come.

More than 40 years after Charlie’s disappearance, his brother, bestselling novelist Eric Olmstead has returned home to honor his mother’s dying wish: FIND HIM.   He enlists the help of Nick Donnelly who, after losing his job with the state police, dedicates his life to solving cold cases.  He, too, may be seeking a kind of closure in helping grieving families find answers when everyone else has given up.  He knows what it’s like to live with haunting questions.

Enter Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell. Her own father ran the 1969 investigation into Charlie’s disappearance; and in following his notes, she realizes that he overlooked – or ignored -- critical clues.  But why? To complicate matters, Eric and Kat share a history themselves, a painful one she’d rather forget.  The past, it seems, wants to find a way out of the grave to wrap itself around the present.

Ritter delves deep into the veiled, complicated lives of Perry Hollows residents. And in doing so he tackles some big themes:  What does it mean to be someone’s parent?  And what does it mean to be someone’s child? How far will we go to hide the truth about ourselves and the people we love? In this complex, and expertly plotted outing, Todd Ritter explores these matters with a deft hand, never letting the suspense lag for even a moment -- right through to the astonishing conclusion.

About Lisa Unger:

Lisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times and international bestselling author. Her novels have sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. and have been translated into 26 different languages. Her writing has been hailed as "masterful" (St. Petersburg Times), "sensational" (Publishers Weekly) and "sophisticated" (New York Daily News) with "gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose" (Associated Press).

About the Author

TODD RITTER, author of Death Notice, is a career journalist and is currently at The Star-Ledger. He lives in suburban New Jersey. Bad Moon is his second novel.


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Product Details

  • Series: Kat Campbell Mysteries (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312622813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312622817
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,506,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Along with the rest of the world, on July 20, 1969, the residents of Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania were transfixed by the images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. One in particular, young Charlie Olmstead, was so overcome with excitement he begged his dad to let him go outside to look at the moon, convinced he'd be able to see Armstrong up there. His father relented and young Charlie peddled off into the night on his bike, never to be seen again. A subsequent search turned up Charlie's badly battered bike at the base of a local waterfall, and it was concluded by the police that Charlie had suffered a similar fate, his body washed away. A tragedy, but just an accident.

Forty years later Eric Olmstead, just an infant at the time his older brother disappeared, returns to Perry Hollow to tend to his mother in her dying days. Her final request of Eric: Find him. Find your brother. Apparently his mother always believed Charlie was kidnapped, and feeling the obligation to at least make a token effort to fulfill her request, Eric hires private investigator Nick Donnelly, whose foundation is dedicated to solving cold-cases. In addition to being a former Pennsylvania State Police investigator, Donnelly is also specifically familiar with Perry Hollow, having previously worked with Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell on a serial killing investigation (Death Notice). Nick looks Kat up when he gets to town, and together they meet with Eric, who has discovered something interesting while cleaning out his mother's house - a board containing a map of the state with six locations marked in red, each accompanied by a clipping from a newspaper detailing a missing child.

Not only does it look like Mrs.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyable exercise in who-done-it, but, truth be told, too many overly dramatic back-stories, happening to too many dysfunctional suspects and characters. Each person's back-story might have been plausible, but in real life, unlikely to all come together to create such a soap opera. After the final very dramatic climax, of all climaxes, those many characters involved would be much more injured than the description/dialog showed. Even though it was a bit over-the-top, the story kept me guessing how all the parts came together, rather like a story puzzle. A good read, nonetheless for mystery genre fans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When it comes to books, I'm super picky and for the most part, I hardly ever finish one. I either find WAY too much "Unbelievable", or the book seems nothing like the teaser leads on.

I don't have much spare time to read as much as I'd like to, but this book made me take time to read. When I was a kid, I'd always love the dialog in superhero comic books over the action frames. I like STORY. I picked up this book on Amazon, just from reading what it was about and started reading as soon as I had the time. Even though I didn't realize at first that is was the second in a series, I was immediately connected to and liked the characters. Also, there were many times in the book where it felt like the author was teasing me into thinking that he's gonna go down the same path as so many other books I've read, but he never did and would sort of tweak what I though, for sure, was gonna happen. I could give an explanation but don't want to throw a spoiler at anyone. When I got to the final 30 pages or so, I was pretty much riveted and was given an ending that I never thought of. Damn you Todd!

Anyways, if you like a good mystery. Not a lot of scary, nor a lot of action for most of the book, not heavy in swearing or sex (not that it bothers me but it's refreshing that an author puts those elements aside and gives us story instead) and love a good mystery story that will keep you reading till the end just to find out how it all unravels, then wraps up, pick this book up.

My only complaint is that it wasn't very deeply "discounted". I'm sure in the next year it'll drop in price but I paid roughly 3 bucks under cover price, but why am I complaining? I've read books this price that really sucked, so I got my moneys worth with this gem. Now it's off to order his first in the series.
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By A Customer on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In 1969 as Neil Armstrong steps on the moon, the parents of nine year old Charlie Olmstead go to get him to watch on TV, but he is not in his bedroom as they thought. Perry Hollow, Pennsylvania Police Chief Jim Campbell leads the search that ends when they find the lad's bike at the bottom of a nearby waterfall. Although his body was never found, the cops assumed he drowned.

Four decades later, Charlie's brother Eric has returned to Perry Hollow to bury his mother. In honor of his mom who never gave up the hope her son would come home, he asks his high school girlfriend Police Chief Kat Campbell to reopen the cold case disappearance of his sibling. Eric also hires injured former state police officer turned cold case investigator Nick Donnelly to look into his brother's disappearance. The trio finds newspaper clippings in the house of Eric's late mom. Kat does a follow-up having a much better data base than her dad had; she uncovers the fact that several children vanished in what was called accidents during moon landings. As the threesome connect the dots of an apparent serial killer, Kat's fifth grade son James resents his single mom spending all her time on the inquiry and none on him.

The second Kat and Nick collaboration (see Death Notice) is a terrific investigative thriller that grips the reader from the onset and several stunning but plausible spins later leaves fans satiated yet craving a third team-up soonest. The story line is fast-paced while rolling back the years using the successes and failures of NASA as a launch into political upheavals over forty years. Bad Moon is a powerful serial killer whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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