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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

The Moons of Summer

By S.K. Epperson
Donald I. Fine, Inc, 265 pp, 1994

This is my second Epperson book and like the first one, I enjoyed it. She is a fine writer with a great sense of the dramatic. More importantly, she creates complex and intriguing characters and puts them in perilous and frightening situations. All that adds up to a fine tale of suspense.

Guy Driscoll has moved he and his daughter from Chicago to the small Kansas town of Colson. His ex-wife has just died and his daughter is showing signs of running with the wrong crowd, so Guy thinks that moving from the big city to the small town in which he grew up will get her on the straight and narrow. He left a plum editing job at a big newspaper and now works for relative peanuts as a beat reporter for the local rag.

The unfortunately named Michael Bish (a woman) is a cop on unpaid leave because of a man she shot during a traffic stop. She claimed he had a gun, but no gun was found. Her husband, Oliver, also a cop, lies brain-dead in the local hospital, due to a bullet lodged in his skull. If he could, Oliver could thank his partner, a local hero, for that favor. But the partner has a few secrets of his own.

Finally, there is the local undertaker, the man shot by Bish. Vernon Diest's mortuary has fallen on hard times - there aren't enough people dying, so he decides to change that himself and get back at Michael for shooting him.

So that's the premise. It all adds up to an interesting yarn of revenge and greed, incest and murder. What more can you ask for?

Just one drawback. The plot seems, at times, a bit disjointed, and Guy and Michael, our protagonists, sometimes disappear for long stretches and play no role in some pivotal scenes. I would have tweaked that a bit.

But that's a quibble. I'm looking forward to reading more of Epperson's books.

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