Wednesday, October 25, 2006

THE JAMES DEANS by Reed Farrel Coleman

The James Deans is DetecToday's featured novel for October. It has drawn comparisons to The Great Gatsby, and I agree. Previous books in Coleman's Moe Prager series have set up the idea of the past coming back to bite you, and everything that happens to Moe is more suspenseful and harrowing when seen in this light.

I most admire Coleman's portrayal of Prager as "lucky." Moe muddles through mostly on determination. Seemingly random things happen to him and he does his best with them, yet you know Coleman has a firm hand on the narrative.

There was a lull in the middle, when the supposed culprit confessed and the heroes reaped rewards, but by then I'd adopted Moe's reflexive mistrust of good fortune. Something had to go wrong; the only question was what. Once the story picked back up, it kept my interest through the last page.

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