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"Void Moon," (2000) is a mystery standalone that comes a little earlier in the career of Michael Connelly, author of the best-selling Detective Harry Bosch series of mystery novels, Los Angeles-set police procedurals that look at life on the "noir" side. This book, which is set in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, has a female protagonist, Cassie Black, and could, I guess, be considered more of a thriller than a straightforward mystery.

Cassie, a Las Vegas native, has walked away from her criminal past after a disastrous night in the Las Vegas Cleopatra that left her lover dead, and her facing a jail term, of which she has served five years at Nevada's High Desert prison. She has now been released on probation and gone to Los Angeles, where she is selling Porsches to young new Hollywood arrivals. Suddenly, the world delivers her another blow. She then needs money fast, and so must go back to her old trade, robbing Las Vegas casino gamblers, at which she was very technologically adept and very successful. So she's given a mark - a potential victim-- by a superstitious old friend with connections: the mark has been winning steadily at baccarat for a week. The job appears to go perfectly, until she opens the mark's briefcase, and then the trouble starts. Her superstitious friend believes that it's because she did not steer clear of the bad luck void moon on the night of the burglary, as he advised her to do. (The internet site Sky View Zone tells us "The Moon becomes void when it's not making any major aspects to the other planets. This happens every few days for a time period ranging from a few minutes to a day or more." And this is the best I can do for a definition, folks.) At any rate, Cassie's luck continues to be lousy, and then she has again crossed paths with Jack Karch, a Vegas-based private investigator by day who does black work for casino operators by night. He's the man who engineered the destruction of her life six years before.

Connelly's usual wonderful fondness for detail nearly undoes this book. He lays down a tremendous amount of technological minutiae on the reader, the action is rather slow: it's a bit boring and suffocating, and some readers may feel they could almost rob a Las Vegas casino themselves after reading it. And in Karch, he seems to have borrowed a funny-named psychotic villain from the James Lee Burke school of detective writing. Yet, somehow, the book retains enough of Connelly's trademark power. It's also got his usual excellent narrative and descriptive writing, and snappy dialogue. And it too is written with great knowledge of, and love for, Los Angeles, then his adopted home town.

We might also notice that Connelly is still sneaking a couple of his favorite ploys into the book: as he used to do in his earlier books, He is still playing with the phrase, "the wire in the blood." (In Blood Work, he mentioned that he was to collaborate on a book with Val McDermid, the Scottish tartan noir author, on a book by that name,The Wire in the Blood. Omnivorous mystery readers will know that McDermid did indeed write quite a book by that title, but without Connelly's participation. However, this book finds him still playing with the idea.)

Connelly is a former journalist, a crime beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, who certainly earned his spurs in murder while earning his daily bread. He is a wonderful writer, my favorite among American mystery authors, and I've read all his books save The Scarecrow and his most recent, The Reversal. (Like many other readers, I imagine, I prefer his series works to his standalones: like many other writers, his mysteries seem more powerful if they are filtered through the sensibilities of his detective protagonist.) However, his recent standalones, "SCARECROW," The Brass Verdict, and The Lincoln Lawyer, have all been #1 New York Times Bestsellers. Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers, his collected non-fiction journalism, was also a New York Times bestseller. But "Void Moon" can be slow going, and I wouldn't recommend it to any but his most devoted readers.
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on 19 August 2008
Pretty good stand alone (non- Bosch) story from Connelly. Cassie Black an ex- Vegas con artist is released from jail and does 'one-last' trick to make enough money to run away. The trick realises too big a bonus and upsets a whole lot of bad guys who come out to play, and Casssie is in serious trouble. The plot is rather simple for Connelly but runs at a Patterson pace making it very enjoyable. The ending is a bit too sentimental, and something Connelly evidently wanted to attempt; having little potential to use with Bosh. Overall, I don't think Connelly deals an ACE, but certainly a good gamble, that works.
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on 24 January 2000
I have read all of Michael Connelly's books and, without a doubt, this is one of his best. I recommend to my friends that they start with his first and work through them all. We have a book case that doubles as a lending library and once I give one of his first books to somebody, they always come back for the rest of them and walk out piled up with The Poet, the Concrete Blonde, The Last Coyote, Blood Work, etc. I didn't think his last book was the greatest but I think he's made up for it with this one, Void Moon. Both my husband and I read it within three days, we couldn't put it down.
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on 15 January 2001
This is the first Michael Connelly book I have read and it certainly wont be the last. I couldnt put it down purely because I had to see where the next surprise was coming from.
I loved the fact that all the different sections came together so well for a fantastic conclusion.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 April 2009
Cassie Black has just been released from doing time for her part in a Las Vegas Casino robbery that went horribly wrong and her partner Max ended up dead.
She's on parole and going straight when events take a turn that make her want to do one last job. But from the outset things felt wrong and Cassie ends up on the run, chasing her is Las Vegas trouble-shooter Jack Karch.

This story has something for everyone, a likeable female protagonist, the hi-tech gadgets and detailed planning for the heist, the bitter psychopathic killer on her trail. Intertwined with the story are snippets of what really happened on the night when Max died.

This book is full of great characters, Cassie herself is brilliantly drawn and the reader wants her to succeed, Karch is scary, cold and calculating and equally good are lesser characters such as Thelma Kibble, Leo Renfro and Vincent Grimaldi.

Already a fan of Connelly, this is definitely up there with my favourites.
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on 23 January 2013
I first read Void Moon many years ago and remember enjoying it then and have enjoyed reading it for second time just as much as before. It is a typical Michael Connelly thriller with and interesting story and plenty of action which makes it difficult to put the book down. I gave it 4 stars therefore for being an excellent novel very well worth reading
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VINE VOICEon 22 July 2008
I'm gradually working my way through Michael Connelly's "Harry Bosch" series of books. However, "Void Moon" is a bit different as it is a stand-alone novel. Fortunately it is every bit as good a as Harry Bosch novel.

It is set partly in Las Vegas and partly in LA and centres around Cassie Black, a former Las Vegas thief. Now out of prison with a respectable job, Cassie decides to pull of one last big job. However, it doesn't go quite as planned.

By the time I had gotten to about half way through this book it had definitely turned into a page turner that I couldn't put down! There are plenty of twists and turns along the way a great story unfolds. The characters are well developed and you feel that you have really gotten to know Cassie.

A most enjoyable 9/10 read!
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Void Moon is another standalone from Michael Connelly only this time just about about every character is on the wrong side of the law. I liked it, but then I'm a devoted Connelly fan, and I must admit that it's not the most enjoyable of his novels but you have to concede that a 'quite good' book by this author - relative to his others - will almost certainly be better than the best that the majority of other crime fiction novelists can manage. His only crime is that he sets the bar high and we expect accordingly high standards!

In a nutshell it's about a 33-year old female ex-con who specialises in high tech Vegas casino burglaries, and she manages to pull off what she vows is her last job only to find that she is being pursued by a very single-minded psychopath of a problem-solver-cum-contract-killer. Half of the story covers her carefully planned caper, the other half the pursuit. I have to confess that I could have written down the exact nature of the killer's demise several hundred pages before it was revealed, but I enjoyed it just the same. The key missing element was a charismatic central character who the reader can really root for; sadly there's no Harry Bosch to be seen even though part of the tale takes place on his turf in Hollywood. Anyway if you are one of the many Connelly fans then don't miss this one, it will not disappoint.
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on 12 January 2000
Michael Connelly one of the best Thriller writers around. Never tied to one character, but explores different characters in each book. His latest 'Void Moon' never disappoints. Great storyline - strong characters- couldn't put it down. Value for money. Brilliant
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on 25 October 2013
This is a desperately bad book. Every important character is deeply unattractive. The writing is plodding in the extreme. There are far too many horribly tedious descriptions of gadgets and how to use them. Sadistic violence can be found at regular intervals. Why, I kept asking myself, did I not just give up half way through? Well, I suppose I just wanted to check I was right about various parts of the plot, and I did need to know how the story ended. In a way, I am pleased I persevered. The last few pages, though they couldn't rescue all that had gone before, were not as disagreeable as the rest of the novel. It would have been very depressing not to read that attempt at a rescue.

But your best bet is not to start the book.

Charles
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