cover image Blood Moon

Blood Moon

Edward Gorman. St. Martin's Press, $20.95 (262pp) ISBN 978-0-312-10943-1

A former FBI agent tracks a serial child killer in this expertly wrought atmospheric mystery featuring a plot as convoluted as the loops and rolls its hero performs in his old biplane. After the suspicious death of the previous detective on the case, investigator Robert Payne is hired by wealthy Nora Conners to solve the brutal murder and mutilation of her 12-year-old daughter, Maryanne, eight years previously. Through psychological profiling, the suspects have been narrowed down to three men in the small Iowa town of New Hope, where Maryanne and three other girls killed in a similar fashion had all visited. Posing as a journalist, Payne begins to investigate the men--a televangelist, a honey salesman and an art teacher, drawing the suspicious interest of New Hope's police chief Jane Avery. The disappearance of the daughter--the same age as the earlier victims--of one of the suspects, the murder of Nora Conners, whose identity and story prove fabricated, deepens Payne's involvement. Crime writing veteran Gorman ( The Night Remembers ), editor of Mystery Scene magazine, evokes the closed-in atmosphere of small towns in this promising series launch that features modern psychological crime fighting by a winning detective. (July)