cover image The Killing Moon

The Killing Moon

Chuck Hogan, . . Scribner, $25 (347pp) ISBN 978-0-7432-8964-1

Hogan's fourth novel (after the Hammett Award–winning Prince of Thieves ) convincingly and movingly brings alive the dying Massachusetts community of Black Falls, which is plagued by a brain drain and by a corrupt, if small, police force. Don Maddox, the town's first (and only) college scholarship recipient, reneged on his obligation to return and work in the community, but 15 years later the prodigal son shows up for his mother's funeral. Oddly, Maddox becomes a part-time auxiliary policeman, clashing often with his superiors. The author soon reveals Maddox's hidden agenda, which is related to a lucrative drug ring and to a series of murders believed to have been committed by a registered sex offender. Strong characters and a memorable setting more than offset a windup with some predictable cliffhangers. (Jan.)