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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Walking the Perfect Square by Reed Farrel Coleman | LibraryThing

I ran across Coleman when I read his continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series.  I liked that a lot so I thought I would take a look at Coleman’s Moe Prager series.

Moe Prager has been invalided out of the NYPD after having knee surgery.  How it happened depended on how drunk he was during the retelling.  The truth was he slipped on a piece of carbon paper in the squad room.  Having fortuitously found a missing girl while on the beat, he is approached by Francis Maloney, a haughty anti-semite (“your people”) to help search for his son, Patrick, who has disappeared.  Agreeing only because Francis says he can help (or hinder) Moe’s application for a liquor license, Moe soon wonders as to Maloney’s seriousness. after a more recent picture than the one Francis is plastering all over town surfaces.  It shows Patrick with tattoos and rings in several orifices.  It’s a picture Francis categorically refuses to acknowledge and proscribes Moe from using it in the search.

Most of the book takes place in 1978 but is connected to events in 1998 (somewhat awkwardly) and revolves around issues of homosexuality within families and familial relationships. The disappeared boy was known to have walked backwards in perfect squares while he thought no one was watching. He’s also known to have wanted to marry at any cost and became extremely upset when one of his girlfriends insisted on terminating her pregnancy from their intimacy.

Aside from some sections that read like a psychiatry textbook and that felt very dated, it’s a good story that handles changing mores quite deftly.

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