- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Orion; 1st edition edition (20 Feb. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0752852892
- ISBN-13: 978-0752852898
- Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 3.1 x 24.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,872,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Clea's Moon Hardcover – 20 Feb 2003
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|Hardcover, 20 Feb 2003||
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'An excellent first novel, with a beguiling central character, that has the reader yearning for more' -- Oscar Tame, 'Books of the Year', in Publishing News
'Excellent, exciting first novel, packed with period detail, written from the heart and suffused with rare feeling' -- Literary Review
'Winner of the Debut Dagger... and it certainly deserves such a distinction...a satisfying read... so well-written and honest in its style of story-telling' -- Tangled Web
Evocative post-World War II crime novel set in LA, starring ex-movie-star and now debt-collector John Ray Horn, and his partner Joseph Mad Crow.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The sense of period and place is superbly done, capturing the sprawling expansion of LA after the war, as concrete and tarmac cover what used to be orange groves and canyons where coyotes roamed. Horn is suitably down-at-heel, but possesses the steely and understated stoicism of the best Chandler-esque heroes of 40s fiction and film, like a Bogart character taken out of a film noir and put on the page.
There's even a pleasing nod to 'The Big Sleep', as Horn goes to 'Geiger's bookstore' on the trail of the men who took some obscene photos - including one of Clea, Horns' stepdaughter - after Horn's friend Scotty finds the photos in his dead father's safe. Soon after, Scotty is discovered dead in an apparent suicide, and Clea goes missing...
The writing is confident and assured, and all the more impressive for being a debut novel, and I've already ordered the author's next two.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
John Ray Horn is a washed up B-movie cowboy star, but after having served a prison term he is now working as a strong arm for his past co-star, Joseph Mad Crow (think The Lone Ranger working for Tonto, basically). He is living very simply and kind of off the grid when he is asked to look into a situation involving photos a friend has found with young girls in provocative situations. Soon Horn is searching for his own stepdaughter, a precocious girl named Clea, who has become (he believes) mixed up in these sordid events. Eventually murder and all sorts of problems have come up, and Horn has to rely on his fists and know how to get things done. What follows is a great mystery suspense thriller set in post-war Hollywood.
Wright does an exceptional job with the historical aspects of the story, you feel like you are there, without it being too over the top. The idea of a old cowboy star being the detective is great, and his characterization is exceptional (as are those of all the other personalities that pop up in the book). There is a great plot here with a huge "Chinatown" vibe (LA reeks corruption and sleaziness through the book) and the entire thing is well written. Can't recommend this enough to fans of classic private eyes in historical settings.
John Horn, Maggie, Clea, the Indian, the San Fernando Valley, L.A. -- fully drawn characters, yeah, even the city -- that will capture your interest and keep it throughout the book.
John Ray Horn is a former rodeo bronc-rider turned B-Western star who tanked his career when he decked the son of the head of his studio, putting the guy in the hospital with a broken jaw. He did two years in prison for that, and when he returned, he discovered that his old boss had blacklisted him and his acting career was over. His faithful Indian sidekick, though, had invested his earnings from the movies and bought a poker parlor/casino on the edge of L.A., and he offers Horn a job collecting bad debts from gamblers. Horn reluctantly takes it, though he hates the work.
When a friend approaches him with some intriguing information about Horn's former step-daughter (the wife divorced him while he was in jail), he decides to look into things. Then the friend is apparently a suicide, and of course Horn doesn't believe it and looks into that too.
The action is interesting, with not too much violence, but enough to keep things exciting, and the characters are wonderfully drawn and intelligently portrayed. Los Angeles has never been more authentically depicted (to my mind the author easily outdoes Ellroy) with the settings, from restaurants to studio lots to the developing San Fernando Valley all wonderfully toured.
I loved this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in old movies, detective stories, or Los Angeles.