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THE JAMES DEANS
By Reed Farrel Coleman
Plume (January 25, 2005)
Reviewed by Karen Meek
Set in 1983, THE JAMES DEANS is the third in the Moe Prager series. Moe is an ex-cop and qualified PI who spends most of his time running two wine stores with his brother in New York City. He and his wife Katy are slowly getting over a miscarriage. Unexpectedly invited to the society wedding on Long Island of a former employee, Moe soon discovers the reason for his presence. The father of the bride, Thomas Geary, is a rich businessman who is promoting the career of State Senator Steven Brightman. Unfortunately for Brightman his name is tarnished with the mysterious disappearance of an intern, Moira Heaton, over a year ago. Moe has been recommended to Geary as the man to discover the fate of the missing woman and to clear Brightmanís name.
Moe follows the usual routine, interviewing witnesses and pulls a few favours to get the police files. He then gets extra information from the previous and unsuccessful PI on the case and itís then that he spots something that has eluded everyone before. He knows whatís happened to Moira. As this occurs about half way through the book the reader knows nothing can be quite as simple as it appears. Even though heís solved the case, Moe has a compulsion to get to know Moiraís character and continues to delve into her life, and through persistence and some luck discovers thereís another secret to be revealed.
I enjoyed this very much, Moe is a likeable and honourable guy who thinks with his head and not his fists and perhaps unusually, has a settled and loving home life. Itís well written and gripping. I was surprised that the Ďmissing interní part of the story was wrapped up fairly early but in fact the story just gets more complicated with several unexpected twists and itís in the second half of the book that the title begins to have relevance. I didnít think the 1980s setting added a great deal, though the story may have been a lot shorter if the Internet was available then, but it does allow for some foreshadowing of events and an unflattering cameo by a politician called Clinton.
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