Moonbird Boy

Abigail Padgett, Author
Abigail Padgett, Author Mysterious Press $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-89296-613-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-446-40513-3
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Moonbird is a six-year-old boy whose future is at the heart of the latest in Padgett's increasingly compelling series featuring manic-depressive sleuth Bo Bradley. Bo meets Moonbird at Ghost Flower Lodge, a psychiatric rehabilitation facility run by the Neji Indians in the desert mountains of Southern California. The boy is there with his father, Mort Wagman, a single parent, aspiring comic and schizophrenic who had recently gone off his medications. Bo (seen last in Turtle Baby) is there climbing out of a deep depression that had been precipitated by the death of her 17-year-old dog.When Mort is shot to death in a nearby canyon, Bo is devastated, but her sympathy for the boy and her job as a social worker for the San Diego Child Protective Services give her impetus to investigate Mort's death and watch over his son, who will be moved into the child welfare system if no relatives are found. Bo, whose illness gives her an acute, reliable self-awareness, has become more forceful and credible with each of her four appearances. Padgett places her in a complex, well-orchestrated plot here, involving the greedy aspirations of a medical management corporation that hopes to franchise the Lodge's traditional Neji healing approach. Firmly rooted in Bo's unique interaction with the world, the narrative develops texture and depth as Padgett weaves strands of neurophysiological research, Indian ritual, murder, big business, WW II atrocities, family ties and romance (in the continuing relationship of Bo and pediatrician Andrew LaMarche) into a gripping novel. Mystery Guild featured alternate. (Apr.)
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