Monday, May 21, 2012

Trying for Classic Noir: Murder by Moonlight by Vincent Zandri


Moonlight, a PI with some issues, like a bullet fragment in his brain from an unsuccessful suicide attempt, takes on an unusual client. Joan Parker survived an attack with a fireman's ax that killed her husband. At the scene, she identified her younger son, Christopher, as the perpetrator. Now she wants Moonlight to proved he's innocent.

The book is a typical PI story. The early chapters are mainly interviews with witnesses and potential suspects, but the action picks up at the end. In fact, the ending is quite violent. My problem with the progress of the story is that premise, Joan's belief in Christopher's innocence, doesn't seem reasonable in light of the ending. It's a though we're supposed to forget where we started.

I didn't enjoy the book. Although I enjoy classic noir and love Raymond Chandler. I don't enjoy detective stories in first person present tense. It seems artificial. Using 'pose' instead of 'ask' to identify a question seemed unnecessarily pretentious. The author tried to make Moonlight come across as a hard-boiled detective, but I found his dialog rather strained.

However, the story moves along at a good pace and if you can get by the author's peculiarities, it's a good read.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.