Empty Ever After by Reed Farrel Coleman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
"Empty Ever After" is Reed Farrel Coleman's fifth book in the Moe Prager series. I quite liked the first novel in the series (and rated it with three and a half stars). Despite verbose writing and off-putting pomposity of including a foreword, a prologue, an epilogue, and an afterword, it was a good story, with realistically portrayed characters and sharp sociological observations. Alas, in my view the current installment is a much weaker book.
Moe Prager, an ex-cop, now a PI and a part-time wine merchant, works on the case, whose roots again reach deep into the past, to the events surrounding Patrick's disappearance. Patrick's grave is desecrated and Moe receives a dire warning. Soon, strange events begin to occur to people close to Moe and he suspects that someone who holds a grudge against him wants to hurt him bad.
The main fault of the novel lies in total implausibility of the premise; I am unable to say more without revealing big spoilers. Also, while it is possible that readers who, unlike me, enjoy extreme "twists and turns" in a plot will be satisfied with the ending, I find at least two plot twists simply ridiculous. Although Mr. Coleman's prose is much tighter than in the first novel of the series, the dialogues frequently do not read well; they sound like artificial conversations from TV soaps, and one is almost expecting the canned laughter track. I find the prologue and the epilogue the best parts of the book; they are somber, moving, and well written. The Israel Roth character adds some gravity to the novel.
Two and a half stars.
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