I can’t decide whether I liked this book, a recent entry (Minotaur Books, 2010) in the Charlie Moon mystery series. This author’s style reminds me a lot of Elmore Leonard, and I’m not sure whether I like Elmore Leonard either. I had considered abandoning the book part way through, but I’m glad I finished it, although I doubt I will be reading many more in this series.
Charlie Moon, Ute rancher and investigator, has fallen on hard times. So when investor Samuel Reed approaches him and Granite City Chief of Police Scott Parish with a proposed wager, Charlie cannot resist. Reed is betting that the two men can’t keep him alive, a wager that of course he would be happy to lose.
The setting is western (think cattle country), and the book is written in a folksy, story-telling manner, but this one is a little too much of a tall tale for me, although the author does a very good job painting the scene and developing the characters. Charlie’s amusing, yet sinister Aunt Daisy pretty much creeped me out, and her “supernatural” abilities were a little hard for me to swallow.
I suppose this is probably a “man’s book”, as opposed to a woman’s, and that could be why it’s not one of my favorites. I tend to prefer books with a primary female character, one who is emotionally vulnerable, yet strong enough to eventually figure out how to triumph over whatever adversity she encounters. I can relate to that.
But this was a well-done and an interesting change of pace.