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Mass Market Paperback Harlots Moon Book

ISBN: 0312967713

ISBN13: 9780312967710

Harlots Moon

(Book #3 in the Robert Payne Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Book Overview

Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A Catholic priest has been found half-naked and dead in a seedy motel room, with his tongue cut out. Ex-FBI profiler Robert Payne has been called in to investigate by his childhood... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Original crime investigator solves a clever murder plot

Ex-FBI profiler and crime investigator consultant Robert Payne is asked by his friend Monsignor Steve Gray to "sniff around" in the sordid murder of a parish priest at a skeevy local motel. The twisty plot suggests several possible suspects. The suburban/rural Cedar Rapids, Iowa, setting gives the story a vivid Midwest placement. Robert's personal life also hits turbulence when his step-father Vic shows up on his doorstep. Vic, a Good Time Charlies in the old days, is dying of lung cancer, and Robert has to swallow his dislike and care for the elderly Vic. Robert's sweet and wise girlfriend Felice convinces Robert to do the right thing (as all significant others do) by Vic. A profile of each murder victim is given to add depth to the mystery. Ed Gorman's elegant, lean prose style is always a treat to read as well. This solid entry in the series hits its stride.

Not as powerful as other novels that use the same plot device

As I lifelong resident of the Cedar Rapids area, I found the locale of the story attractive. However, as I was reading it, I found many aspects of the plot stale. However, much of that was due to my having read other books published after this one where the basic plot was the same. To be specific, it involves Catholic priests whose piety is lacking and whose actions are definitely not going to get them into paradise after their demise. It begins with the death of a Catholic priest in a shady motel, he was murdered and his body mutilated after the fact. Robert Payne receives a call from his old friend Steve Gray, now a Catholic priest and at the time of the call, in the room with the body. Robert comes to aid him and then is hired to privately investigate the murder. He does so and finds many different suspects, a trail of infidelity, lies and other nasty deeds. As the investigation continues, Robert discovers a series of murders where the body was mutilated after death. As the story unfolds, there are sidebars of explanation about the victims. None of them are particularly attractive people, all are criminals of one form of another, and for each there is a list of possible suspects. The climactic conclusion is not particularly strong, it comes and goes quickly and it was obvious to me when it began how it was going to end. I liked the story and Gorman deserves credit for being more original in his plot than others who have followed and used the same plot device. I recently read and reviewed, "God's Spy" by Juan Gomez-Jurado and published in 2007. Gomez-Jurado uses the same basic plot device of the bad Catholic priest(s) and the action there was much stronger. Therefore, the lower ranking here is largely due to the comparison to "God's Spy."

The best that mystery has to offer

Monsignor Steven Gray asks his old childhood friend, former FBI psychological profiler, Robert Payne to investigate the murder of Father Daly. Robert, who now works as an investigator for a Cedar Rapids, Iowa law firm, does not want to get involved with what looks to him like an internal church affair. However, for old time sakes, he agrees to look into this and a similar grisly murder of a priest. Among Daly's possessions are a series of articles about the brutal killings of members of St. Mallory Church. From these clippings and other information, Robert develops a profile on a vicious serial killer. As he gets closer to identifying the culprit, Robert knows he must pick up the pace before another parishioner becomes the next brutalized victim. HARLOT'S MOON, the latest Robert Payne novel (see HAWK MOON and BLOOD MOON), is a tremendous hard-boiled detective story, starring a great protagonist. When it comes to crime, Robert is as tough as they get, but Ed Gorman makes his star profiler seem human because he provides him with compassionate traits too. Throw in a well-designed fast-paced story line and a strong support cast that constantly move the plot forward and the audience has a top rate psychological who-done-it. Harriet Klausner
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