BAD MOON by Todd Ritter [Review]

On the night of the first moon landing, Eric’s brother, Charlie, disappears. Whether it’s foul play or kidnapping, no one knows, and no one seems interested in the mystery of his disappearance until now. Eric’s mother dies and her dying request is that he will figure out what happened to his brother. Enlisting the help of an old girlfriend and current police chief Kat and her partner Nick, the three of them start a search to figure out what happened to not only Charlie, but five other boys who all disappeared the same way–vanishing into thin air on subsequent nights of moon landings.

Sounds intriguing? Well, Todd Ritter definitely makes good on his premise.

Bad Moon is fast paced, exciting, and has cliffhanger after cliffhanger, which makes it hard to break away from reading to do those mundane, everyday tasks–like go to work, or wash the dishes, or sleep. It’s told in alternating viewpoints between Eric, Kat, and Nick. At the end of each character’s segment, the cliffhanger is so large that it takes all your effort not to fall into the pit below. Usually I don’t care for such blatant suspense, but Bad Moon makes it work in that each storyline is just as interesting as the next. In one sense, you want to stay with Kat so you can know what she just figured out. But on the other hand, you’re ready to get back to Eric because he just discovered something big, too.

The ending is a classic bait and switch; the proposed theory, though purely logical and rational, isn’t what actually happened of course. Just when you think you’ve got it solved, it turns out…you don’t.

As much as I enjoyed the book, I find fault in a few places. The alternating viewpoints, though interesting, aren’t unique or effective in that each one is told in the same, straightforward way. Ritter doesn’t leave things to the imagination; he likes to tell us what the characters are feeling and when and why. It makes the characters feel so cold and calculated and almost without emotion. He also alludes to Kat and Nick’s encounter with a past serial killer, but never explains what kind of encounter it was. It’s as if Ritter wants to add even more suspense to the book, but at the last minute backs out at giving us the full information.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Since I don’t have the critical thinking type of mind that a cop or even a jigsaw puzzler needs, I liked that everything was spelled out for me in the classic Matlock way. So perhaps this book isn’t for someone who likes to put together the pieces on their own. Either way, it’s enjoyable enough for at least a bedtime read.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars | Publisher: Minotaur Books | Pages: 368 | Source: Publisher| Buy on Amazon

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