Innocent Monster a Moe Prager Mystery
Judging a book by the Cover
Anyone who has ever read a book has surely had someone tell them at least once that you "shouldn't judge a book by its cover."
However, the cover of the book is more or less exactly why I chose to read "Innocent Monster" by Reed Farrel Coleman.
Done in shades of red black and tan, the splashes and splotches done abstractly around the title is what made me pull the book off the library shelf. The oxymoron of the title "Innocent Monsters" appealed to me as well.
I skimmed the back cover blurb, decided it might be worth a try, and added it to my bag of books for that trip.
It was only after I got the book home and started actually reading it that I realized that Innocent Monsters is actually one of a part of a series of books. It is actually 6th in a series of books revolving around PI Moe Prager.
Luckily it was also one of the books written so well that you didn't HAVE to read the other books. You didn't get to know all the characters in their full glory, but you were given enough background so you were not lost trying to figure out what was going on and what it had to do with what happened before.
In fact, it could do very well as a stand alone novel, so if this lens makes you want to give it a try, don't let the fact that its part of a series deter you.
Young artist Sashi Bluntstone has been missing for nearly a month when PI Moe Prager agrees to take on the case.
As more time goes by, the chances of finding Sashi alive are dropping as fast as the value of her art is rising.
A great novel to have in paperback or hardcover.
Once widowed, once divorced, Moe Prager knows he is getting older. He once was a cop, but isn't anymore. He once was a PI, but has let his license lapse. These days he works with his brother as co-owner of several wine shops. Sometimes dull, it is his life now.
Until his estranged daughter comes to him and asks him for help. The daughter of her childhood friend has gone missing. The cops have no leads and she think that he has what it takes to find Sashi.
Moe doesn't WANT to take the case, but feels it might be his last chance to reconnect with his daughter who has been mostly absent from his life for the past 7 years.
More Moe Prager
While it was the first book of the series that I picked up to read, Innocent Monster's is actually the sixth book of the series.
There were 5 books ahead of it.
Prager travels up to a decaying Borscht Belt hotel to uncover the truth behind a decades-old fire that killed seventeen people.
Prager is forced to take the case of a young politician, whose career has stalled after the suspicious disappearance of a young woman he knows.
Tipped off by an old friend, Prager investigates the secret behind the murder of Dexter Mayweather, a major-league drug dealer in the early 1970s.
Moe follows a trail of graverobbers from cemetery to cemetery, in order to finally solve the enigma of his dead brother-in-law Patrick.
Forced to retire from the NYPD, and settling for going into the wine business with his brother, Moe Prager finds himself investigating the disappearance of a college student.
Sashi Bluntstone was only 4 when she became a world renowned artist. Her abstract paintings were selling for $500 a peice.
Now she is 11, and her fame has only grown. So has the price of her art. Her peices are now selling for up to twenty five thousand dollars.
Or they were, before she dissapeared.
Sashi has been missing for 3 weeks already when Moe Prager is pointed towards her case. From what he can tell she was a sad little girl, who loved her dog more than anything in the world.
And he knows that the longer she is missing, the less likely they are to find the young artist alive.
The Series Continues
There have been two more Moe Prager Mystery novels since Innocent Monster was published in 2012. Despite the fact that he is aging, PI Prager seems to still be going strong.
Moe Prager is approached by his ex-wife whose estranged sister has been murdered.
It's 1967 and Moe Prager is wandering aimlessly through his college career and his life. All that changes when his girlfriend Mindy is viciously beaten into a coma and left to die.
What Happens Next
Prager only took on the Bluntstone case because he saw it as the last chance to mend broken bonds with his daughter Sarah.
Sashi Bluntstone is the daughter of Sarah's childhood friend Candy. Prager hasn't seen Candy since her wedding, but remembers her fondly. He remembers her husband Max less fondly.
He also knows that with 3 weeks already gone by the chances of finding Sashi Bluntstone alive are next to none. He takes the case anyway, of course.
He finds himself in the art world, which is more seedy than he thought it was. His investigation puts him in situations that absolutely depress him. Before it is concluded he decides to drop the case.
However, he still can't let it go.
Could Sashi possibly still be alive out there, after all this time?