Biting the Moon (Andi Oliver Series #1)

( 6 )


In a unique departure from her acclaimed Richard Jury novels, bestselling author Martha Grimes presents "a lyrical coming-of-age journey" (Chicago Sun-Times) featuring two characters from her previous novels.

A nameless young woman awakes in a strange bed-and-breakfast with a message that her "Daddy" will soon return. Fearing the worst, she flees into the wilderness and meets Mary Dark Hope. Together, the two track down the one person who holds the key to the girl's identity: ...

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Biting the Moon

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In a unique departure from her acclaimed Richard Jury novels, bestselling author Martha Grimes presents "a lyrical coming-of-age journey" (Chicago Sun-Times) featuring two characters from her previous novels.

A nameless young woman awakes in a strange bed-and-breakfast with a message that her "Daddy" will soon return. Fearing the worst, she flees into the wilderness and meets Mary Dark Hope. Together, the two track down the one person who holds the key to the girl's identity: The man who abducted her.

"A HARROWING ROAD TRIP." —New York Times Book Review

"MESMERIZING." —Los Angeles Times

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Editorial Reviews

Ann Prichard
Biting the Moon reveals empathy for animals and children, but remains a rather artless excursion from an otherwise adept author.
USA Today
Publishers Weekly
Engaging adolescent Mary Dark Hope, who appeared in Rainbow's End, returns in this uneven thriller/animal-rights polemic. After Mary befriends Andi, a teenage amnesiac who releases trapped animals in New Mexico's Sandia Mountains, the two girls head after a mysterious man who Andi thinks may have kidnapped her and knows her identity. Conveniently, the orphaned Mary has a bank account, a car, her dead sister's driver's license and gullible caregivers. The girls easily encounter garrulous informants along the way, finding a friend and protector in Reuel, a salt-of-the-earth dropout who knows everyone in Salmon, Idaho, where they've tracked their quarry. Once Andi identifies Harry Wine, a river expedition outfitter, as her abductor, the book shifts into a series of predictable episodes that show unthinking people gruesomely mistreating animals and that reveal the arrogant Wine's vile nature. Mary and Andi rescue an abused dog, go white-water rafting, spy on a "canned hunt" for endangered animals. In a violent scene near the book's end, Andi confronts Wine, then disappears. Although Grimes writes movingly of the plight of maltreated animals and gracefully evokes the beauty of the American West, many scenes are too long and aimless. Most of the characters are stereotypes, their individual motivations hard to discern. Andi's disappearance is especially puzzling — like the Lone Ranger, she stirs up the populace and vanishes, leaving the cleanup to others. This is not a Richard Jury book, and fans will miss him. Rights, Peter Lampack Agency.
To quote KLIATT's March 2000 review of the Books on Tape audiobook edition: Grimes's juvenile adventure story begins cleverly. Andi Oliver, suffering from amnesia, awakens in a hotel room. A man who told attendants that he was her father has gone but will return for her shortly. Frightened, Andi finds some money in the room and heads for some inhospitable mountains where she just happens to find a fully stocked cabin in which to spend the winter. Andi makes contact with 14-year-old Mary Dark Hope. They learn to drive, get a map, and set off on an improbable adventure in search of the man who may have been Andi's father. Numerous subplots allow Grimes to lecture her audience on a range of animal rights issues: tapping, coyote population, dog fights, commercial hunting. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Random House/Onyx, 302p, 20cm, 99-42040, $12.00. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Edna M. Boardman; Former Lib. Media Spec., Magic City Campus, Minot, ND, May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
Library Journal
Teenaged Andi Olivier lives in a cabin in the mountains near Santa Fe, rescuing animals caught in traps. She doesnt remember who she isher name is made up, based on the A.O. she finds stitched on her backpackbut she does remember waking up in a motel where, she is told, Daddy has deposited her and then gone on to do some business. Andi is convinced that Daddy is not her real father, and after hooking up with 14-year-old Mary, whose family have all perished, she sets out to find the man she thinks abducted her and to recover her past. Along the way, the two girls run into evidence of animal abusedogs starved for dog fights, tame beasts from zoos set up for fake huntsthat will make the stomach of any decent reader churn. The story is not exactly probableamazingly, months later people recall vivid details of the man just passing through town who fits the description of Daddybut the prose is suspenseful, the ending satisfying, and Grimess passionate concern for animal welfare deeply moving. Buy wherever Grimes is popular.Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
School Library Journal
YA-Two brave and resourceful teenagers careen from one wild adventure to another in this gripping tale of kidnapping, murder, and more. The older girl wakes alone in a bed-and-breakfast near the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico. She has complete amnesia but she's sure that the person who brought her there is not her "Daddy," as he described himself to the proprietress. She searches the room, finds a wad of money and a backpack labeled A. O., and heads for the mountains, where she finds an empty cabin in the foothills. She calls herself Andi and decides she must be about 15. Sneaking into a pharmacy in a nearby town, she is discovered by Mary Dark Hope, a 14-year-old orphan who takes Andi home with her. Andi persuades Mary to help her find out who she is, and the two set off on a series of adventures involving animal rescue and a white-water rafting expedition led by "Daddy," who turns out to be a rapist, pedophile, and murderer. In the end, he is exposed and killed by Andi in self-defense. She discovers that she is also an orphan and sets off to find out who her parents were. YAs will find this somewhat unbelievable but riveting story entertaining and the young heroines delightful and admirable.-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Marilyn Stasio
[The book] crests in a white-water raft trip...that tests the girls' mettle and inspires some grand nature writing from Grimes.
The New York Times Book Review
Kay Black
It is a true psychological thriller that is very hard to put it down.. Following Andi and Mary sometimes takes an iron will and a strong stomach, because of the cruelty they discover. They encounter true evil and always want to fix it, not without danger to themselves. The story is very well crafted with fascinating characters.
The Mystery
Beth Amos
April 1999

A New Martha Grimes Novel!

Imagine waking up alone one morning in a Santa Fe bed-and-breakfast, not knowing how you got there or even who you are. When you find the owner, she describes your arrival the night before, "dead asleep" in your Daddy's arms. But you know the man called Daddy isn't your father. You're unsure just who or what he is, but your gut tells you it isn't good. Your gut tells you to run. Such is the chilling and mind-bending opening premise of Martha Grimes's latest mystery, Biting the Moon, featuring a young woman in search of an identity, answers, and justice.

After awakening in the bed-and-breakfast, the young girl takes a roll of cash, a sleeping bag, and a gun she finds in the room, sensing that "Daddy" is about to return. By sticking to the back roads and accepting a ride from a helpful but unsettling stranger, she eventually finds her way to the mountains and an isolated cabin, where she holes up for the winter. There she befriends the only creatures more desolate than she is -- the wild animals caught in the illegal steel-jawed traps someone has set out on the mountains.

Plagued by the mystery of who she is and how she came to be here, she struggles to remember. The only clue she has is the initials on her backpack: AO. After running through all the "A" names she can think of, she eventually adopts one from the surrounding mountains that have been her haven, plucking "Andi" from the Sandia Crest mountains. But many questions still linger and gnaw, and eventually the refuge of the cabin is disrupted when she finds small, disturbing signs that someone has been there while she was out tending the animals.

Then, on one of her trips into town for supplies, an accident of fate allows her to meet and befriend Mary Dark Hope, a well-to-do but orphaned 14-year-old being cared for by the family housekeeper. Not only has Mary lost her parents; her beloved older sister, who bore a striking resemblance to Andi, was murdered a few years ago as well. Together the two share their stories, expose their wounds, and open their minds and hearts to one another.

Inevitably, these two strong-minded and high-spirited girls decide to investigate Andi's background in search of some answers. What they uncover from the owner of the bed-and-breakfast unsettles Andi when she realizes that the mysterious Daddy may well have been the very stranger who gave her a lift the day she escaped. Sensing it was also he who had been in the cabin, Andi becomes convinced Daddy is watching her and may come back for her. She decides her only recourse is to turn the tables, take charge of her life, and find him first. Sifting through the few meager clues they have -- snippets of conversations Daddy had with the B&B owner and the Idaho license plates on his car -- the girls make the decision to embark on a perilous journey, hoping to find both Daddy and Andi's past.

The hazards, tension, and emotions all mount as the girls are sidetracked by illegal dogfights, white-water rafting with a murderous guide, and the cruelty of canned hunts, for which people pay big bucks to gun down a half-domesticated wild animal inside a cage. By the time they find Daddy, they also find a trail of molestation, abuse, abduction, and murder, leaving the girls to wonder if Andi's search for her life will also be the end of it.

Biting the Moon is a fast-paced and powerful novel of desperation and resourcefulness, courage and cowardice, kindness and depravity. With its twofold punch on the subjects of child welfare and animal rights, the book grabs your emotions by the throat and doesn't let go until the very end. And even then, the emotional resonance lingers long after the last page has been turned.

--Beth Amos

Beth Amos is the author of several mainstream suspense thrillers, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Kirkus Reviews
The longtime chronicler of Inspector Richard Jury and his menagerie of friends (The Stargazey, 1998, etc.) goes west for this tale of a young woman on the road from nowhere aiming to solve the mystery of her identity. What would you do if you woke up one morning in a bed-and-breakfast with no memory of how you got there or anything else about yourself, only the smiling promise of the b&b owner that "Daddy" had gone into Santa Fe and would be back in a couple of hours? Well, Andi Oliver, who spontaneously christens herself from the initials on her backpack and the name of the nearby Sandia Crest, isn't the sort of person who takes things lying down, and long before Daddy returns she has stuffed her backpack with $600 and a Smith & Wesson she finds among his things and has vamoosed. Her first wanderings take her to a mountain cabin that becomes her headquarters as she ventures out to rescue coyotes caught in steel-jawed traps. But months later, on one of her trips to a pharmacy for the codeine she uses to anaesthetize her trapped patients, she hooks up with Mary Dark Hope, 13, who sees Andi as the perfect replacement for her own murdered older sister Angela, and the two decide that, instead of waiting to see if Daddy ever returns to menace Andi again, they'll hunt him down and confront him themselves. The girls have precious little to go on — just the suspicious behavior of a man who gave Andi a lift and the fact that Daddy's Camaro had Idaho plates — and they're constantly getting sidetracked by their weakness for suffering animals. But their adventures among government animal controllers, white-water rafters, hunters of caged wild animals, and dogfight connoisseursinexorably bring them closer to a showdown with Daddy. Grimes's young heroines are as grave and enchanting as you'd expect, and she shows a nice eye for the relations between inhumanity toward animals and other, more shocking kinds of same. . .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451409133
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Series: Andi Oliver Series, #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,456,504
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.74 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha  Grimes

Martha Grimes is the bestselling author of eighteen Richard Jury mysteries and also the acclaimed fiction Foul Matter, Cold Flat Junction, Hotel Paradise, The End of the Pier, and The Train Now Departing.

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    1. Hometown:
      Washington, DC and Santa Fe, NM
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 2, 1931
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., M.A., University of Maryland
    2. Website:

Interviews & Essays

Before the live chat, Martha Grimes agreed to answer some of our questions:

Q:  Where can your online fans find out more information about you and your books?

A:  Fans can get more information about me and my books by going to my web site,

Q:  Predict a few contemporary books that may be taught in the classrooms of the new millennium.

A:  What I would like to see taught is the defusing of the word "genre." Or perhaps I'd like to see it shot down completely. One of the best books I've read in this respect is Snow Falling on Cedars. I like to point this book out when publishers insist on calling Hotel Paradise a "mystery." Snow Falling on Cedars would probably have been stuck on "mystery" shelves had its author previously written a chain of mysteries. So would To Kill a Mockingbird.

Q:  Recommend three books that you have read lately and enjoyed.

A:  An Instant of the Fingerpost. Boy, do I wish I'd written that. It's simply remarkable, a "Rashomon"-style of story, told from several different viewpoints with a knockout of an ending. Charlotte Gray. Not as compelling as Birdsong, but still an example of gorgeous writing. A Man in Full. I loved it (along with several million other readers, I guess).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 16, 2010


    I'm so glad I decided to read this book; it has changed my life for the better. I love the characters and the issues Grimes describes in this novel. In this series, the author goes behind the scenes at a factory farm and also explores the issue of trapping animals. I so admire Andy Oliver for doing what needs to done even though it's heart-breaking to witness. Sad and cringe-worthy at times, this book was so poignant and very moving. Andy is a true heroine! I also loved Dakota by the same author. You might also enjoy the Alphabet series by Sue Grafton and the novels of Marcia Muller. The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child is also a wonderful series of books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2000

    great book

    Belonging to a literary club-we are great at tearing books apart at our meetings where we review the books--This book I will not tear apart-I am going to think of this as a fairy tale and I enjoyed it very much-especially the rafting trip--that was well written--the book got a little disconnected in places-The only thing that did bother me--Mary-14 yrs old would have never had the insight and understanding of people at that age- an older person -yes. Very enjoyable read-hard to put down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Not the usual Grimes...

    I prefer the Richard Jury novels...this was a little predictable and boring. Why ruin a great thing by trying something new?

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  • Posted May 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not Very Good

    This book was extremely slow. I couldn't ever get into it. It seemed like an awkward front for a PETA commercial.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2000


    I was intrigued by the description of the story on the book jacket and so purchased it. The story was just not believable to me and seemed disjointed. I was saddened by the plight of animals and people in the book and didn't feel their predicaments were resolved to my satisfaction. The only reason I finished the book is that I can't bear to leave one unfinished. I have never read Martha Grimes before and will investigate reviews before purchasing another of her books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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