It’s been eight years since Cooper’s son, seven-year-old Maxie, disappeared from the front lawn of his home in rural Ohio. After leaving his teaching position at Concord University, Cooper joins Miami PD as a homicide detective. That takes him into the dark underbelly of Miami where the brilliant colors of the night sky hide the violence in the streets below. Blood Moon Rising begins with Cooper, now a PI, receives a call from a friend of his, a faculty member at a College in southern Ohio, who is married, about a missing student of his, a young college girl. In his class. And she’s more than a friend.
And this case leads him into the terrifying world of human trafficking: a world where kids housed in orphanages are sold on the world market; where college students unwittingly sign up for dangerous pharmaceutical experiments; and where the Russian mob plays a shadow game of catch me if you can. And Cooper risks his life. But he has friends who help: Richie, a mob enforcer; Huxter Crowe, a Seminole cowboy and alligator hunter; Louise Delgado, a Miami detective specializing in gang activity; and Leo Federovich, a Russian KGB agent and the grandfather of one of the missing students. And through it all, Cooper, a brooding, dark, intellectual, with a side not everyone can see, will stop at nothing, even murder, to find his son. And the Blood Moon keeps constant vigil as Cooper searches the streets of Miami, and the Everglades, and the Florida Straits, where kidnappers prey, to find the missing children and his son, Maxie.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.00 out of 10
Plot: This book is a well-written page-turner with a host of compelling characters. When PI Cooper signs on to a missing persons case for a friend, he winds up chasing Russian mobsters dealing in human organs from Ohio to Florida, where a storm makes the final chase even darker.
Prose/Style: Conrath provides a fast-paced detective story that provides an alluring backstory for the protagonist. Solidly engaging dialogue and crisp detail enhance the prose.
Originality: Though the subject of human trafficking is of-the-moment, this is not your typical detective novel. Especially notable is Conrath's capable character development and the novel's haunting focus on Cooper’s missing son--an element that provides additional emotional complexity and dimension.
Character Development: Cooper is a sympathetic lead, but it’s his crazy crew of cohorts that add so much individuality to the story. Particularly strong are Cooper's friends, the mob enforcer and the elder Native American, who provide a welcome sprinkling of humor to an otherwise grim storyline.
Date Submitted: August 20, 2019