The crack of a handgun shatters the silence of a warm summer night...A notorious local felon and former child magician vanishes, seemingly without a trace...A corrupt police force applies a stranglehold to a failing town...An ailing old man hatches a last-ditch plan to save the police department he once headed, and the community he still loves...An outsider arrives, bearing a simple recipe for death that could destroy them all... Buried deep in the rural backcountry of New England, the town of Black Falls isn't dying so much as quietly fading away. No supermarket. No traffic lights. No ATM. No hope.
Donald Maddox, a man with no law enforcement background -- indeed, no background at all -- has returned to his hometown after fifteen years to find himself employed as an auxiliary patrolman on a local police force known to inspire more fear than trust in its citizenry.
When a brutal murder shatters the isolation of this forgotten place, triggering the arrival of state police homicide detectives and a town-wide manhunt, both the local cops and Maddox appear to have something to hide. As the tightly wound mystery that is Maddox's past begins to unravel, he becomes ensnared in a deadly conspiracy that ultimately threatens his life, as well as the lives of those nearest him.
Hogan's fourth novel (after the Hammett Award-winning Prince of Thieves) convincingly and movingly brings alive the dying Massachusetts community of Black Falls, which is plagued by a brain drain and by a corrupt, if small, police force. Don Maddox, the town's first (and only) college scholarship recipient, reneged on his obligation to return and work in the community, but 15 years later the prodigal son shows up for his mother's funeral. Oddly, Maddox becomes a part-time auxiliary policeman, clashing often with his superiors. The author soon reveals Maddox's hidden agenda, which is related to a lucrative drug ring and to a series of murders believed to have been committed by a registered sex offender. Strong characters and a memorable setting more than offset a windup with some predictable cliffhangers. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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January 01, 2007
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Excerpt from The Killing Moon by Chuck Hogan
A crack, a spray of flame, and he dropped onto his back on the side of the dirt road.
Nothing made sense at first. Not the trees overhead, nor the dark sky. The gasping that would not fill his lungs.
He heard hissing and felt a great pressure easing in the center of his chest, a sensation like deflating, like shrinking back into boyhood.
His fight-or-flight response failed him, blunted by years of false alarms. In the end, his brain was unable to differentiate between legitimate trauma and the fire drill of another cheap high.
The forest was fleeing him on all sides. Light came up in his face that he did not realize was a flashlight; a bright, beaming presence he thought might be divine.
Ten minutes earlier, he had been so fully alive. Pushing his way through the snagging branches of the Borderlands State Forest, jogging at times, giddy as he followed the full and smiling moon through the treetops. Intensely alive, every part of him, as he had not felt in weeks or even months.
He was two full days beyond sleep, yet his thoughts remained hyperfocused and particular, his mind blazing pure blue flame (no flickers of orange tonight, no air in the line). The thrill of risk, of danger, was his spark and his fuel.