Innocent Monster

Reed Farrell Coleman, Tyrus (Consortium, dist.), $24.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-935562-20-7
In Shamus-winner Coleman's darkly impressive sixth Moe Prager mystery (after 2008's Empty Ever After), the retired Brooklyn PI takes on a baffling missing person case only because his estranged daughter, Sarah, begs him to help. In the three weeks since art prodigy Sashi Bluntstone, the 11-year-old daughter of Sarah's childhood friend Candy Castleman, disappeared from a walk on the beach near her Long Island home, the police have found no trace of the girl, who "skyrocketed to prominence at age four when her Abstract Expressionist paintings... began selling for tens of thousands of dollars." Prager, who encounters a host of ugly characters, including parents Max and Candy, who aren't telling all they know, and resentful painter Nathan Martyr, becomes increasingly sure that Sashi is dead, but keeps slogging along. His past as a cop, his guilt over his wife's murder, and his current career as a wine merchant make Prager a complex character well suited to handle a complex mystery. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/26/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
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