January Moon

January Moon

4.7 21
by Maureen Gill

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Calls that come in the middle of the night are seldom good, especially when it's your mother and she's hysterical because your dad's got a dead body in his truck -- a very young dead female body in his truck, to be exact.... As Chicago homicide detective Del Carter is about to learn, life can go from damn bad to real damn bad in a heartbeat.


Calls that come in the middle of the night are seldom good, especially when it's your mother and she's hysterical because your dad's got a dead body in his truck -- a very young dead female body in his truck, to be exact.... As Chicago homicide detective Del Carter is about to learn, life can go from damn bad to real damn bad in a heartbeat.

Editorial Reviews

Gina Gallo
Maureen Gill swaggers through her debut novel with the impressive power, precision and dead-on aim of the last gun standing after the smoke clears. Her characters are finely drawn coordinates in a lethal landscape, tripping the dark fantastic through a plot with more twists than a dry martini. Literati take note: There's a new gun in town and she's taking no prisoners. With each page of January Moon, Gill secures her rightful position as an ascendant star.
Dennis Banahan
January Moon, is a masterpiece, a tour de force. This gifted storyteller has spun a remarkable and totally unique story that culminates in a suspenseful, astonishing ending; it will leave you breathless and hungry for more... I was a Chicago Policeman for for thirty years, a homicide detective for ten of them, and I can assure readers that this author has captured the essence of a real criminal investigation with amazingly accurate insight. January Moon is a must read.

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

Maureen Gill is a native Chicagoan. January Moon is her first work of commercial fiction and the first book in her Del Carter Calendar Series (March Rain is scheduled for release in early 2011). More about Maureen and her writing can be found at www.maureengill.net.

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January Moon 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
January Moon is an ambitious exploration of the ways in which religious fundamentalism is used as a screen for irrationality of all kinds. Using female mutilation as its underlying theme, it gathers a diverse range of characters into a page-turning thriller; along the way it also deals, among other things, with competition between crime prevention agencies and race relations. No-one is perfect; moral dilemmas abound. The family scenes are particularly well-drawn; an island of normality in a sea of madness (not forgetting the dog). A rollercoaster of a read.
Bookloverbarb54 More than 1 year ago
January Moon is an exceptional work of fiction, especially for a new author. I haven't always been impressed with self-published authors but this book doesn't suffer from so many of the problems you see with independently published works. Whatever small errors it may have are easily overlooked because the writing is so extraordinarily beautiful, the story so utterly fascinating and creative, and the characters that grace the pages of the book are convincing and well developed. Gill has as refreshing new voice, a biting wit, and an ability to really spin a good yarn. Nothing in January Moon is formulaic or predictable (in fact, she grandly shatters a lot of the old rules which more or less begs the question about why we have them anyway. They are obviously not needed, at least not for a person with such mastery of the written word as Gill). Are you getting the idea I liked January Moon yet? Frankly, I couldn't put it down and once I was through with it I wanted to go back and read a few parts all over again and then call a friend and discuss it. I enjoyed reading the trailer about the dogs at the end of the book and also appreciated the hyperlinks to helpful websites for further information about various topics in the book. That was a nice touch. Her website is also very interesting. My only small criticism is that the book would have benefited from professional editing in a few sections but the overall strength of the story and the skill in which it was written really dwarfs such criticisms, all the more so because it's her first novel and she appears to have done it all by herself without the traditional perks an author receives when backed by an agent and a publishing house. I'm giving January Moon an unreserved five stars and am predicting this very interesting lady from Chicago is going to take the book world by storm.
SgtShap More than 1 year ago
Maybe I'm cheating b/c I read this book over at Smashwords and then saw it was here too (can I write 2 reviews? I don;t know why not). My sister told me about this book and said it was a cop story and since I'm a cop (not CPD) I said "well, OK, let's hear about it" but when started to tell me about female genitel mutilation i said "no way" (and you know cops have strong stomachs but there are someplace a man just shouldnt go, you know what I mean?) but then she insisted and since I owe her money (no, not really) I agreed to listen (I listened b/c she always puts me on to good books) and I let her read me some parts outloud and I changed my mind and said, "ok, way..." and now here I am. You follow me? (btw this is a double 1st for me b/c I just got a Kindle from my kids for my birthday (sorry Nook) and this is the 1st book I read on it and also this is the 1st review I ever wrote (my sister made me promise to do this if I liked the book b/c she likes the author but that's her bias not mine & I'm really here b/c I want to be). Anyway, I like the book, I really do. The characters are believable (esp Wiley, he's great). I really liked the cops and feebs and all the quirky people (I worked wiht that guy Eggs, I swear to God) and its a nice twist to have an offender/perp whos a female homicidal maniac (well she's sort of a woman and she's obviously a complete whackjob). There are enough twists and turns in the story to keep you guessing all the time. I never expected the ending and its obvious Gill set the stage for another book and I'll look forward to reading it. I agree with the other reviewers here and at Smashwords (see I did my homework) that Gill can be really funny. Is it a heavy book? Yeah, it has some major substance and I checked out Gill and she has some creds when it comes to history and Chicago and just living a real life (nice website and a brave lady with guts and I take my hat off to her. I like survivors.). But is it also entertaining? Definitely. And is it believable? Well, I had no problem with it. In some ways its a more accurate cop story than the usual stuff. Am I recommionding it? Yes I am. It worked for me. My wife is reding it now and then my girls so it will so it will be interesting to see what they think but my wife is already laughing so I guess she likes it it. At $2.99 I don't know what you got to lose. This is a thumbs up book.
KaylinStanevich More than 1 year ago
Maureen Gill is a Chicagoan and there's something about her writing that tells you that even if you didn't now it. Maybe it's the Midwestern bluntness with a dash of openess and that strange sincere friendliness all Chicagoan have (so different from other big cities). Maybe it's the in-your-face, "put your cards on the table and spit it out if you got something to say" attitude of the Windy City. I don't really know but it sort of jumped off the page to me. Whatever it is, January Moon and Maureen Gill are as brisk and refreshing and able to blow you over as a gale force wind off Lake Michigan. This book is a sweeping fast paced saga that weaves several amazing tales into one great story. I loved it. It was different (I mean who the heck can write about female genital mutilation and make you want to read it? Some great talent there alright.) Gill is funny too (the Mayor and his Ethiopians!) and so sarcastic (rednecks aren't going to be amused) but her real strength is the power of her dramatic writing which left me limp and emotionally stunned -- over and over again; ie., the doctor telling Joan Oboti the truth about her father was the best writing I've read in years (OMG). And then Gill did it again with Wiley and Eiot and the truth about what happened to Eliot when she was a little girl at the hands of racists, and then yet again when Louise tells Dell about the pain and horror of raising a demonic child. Over and over again Gill demonstrated remarkable talent. And her comedic timing was perfect; without it I don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much, it might have been too heavy but every time Gill brought me to the edge she pulled me back and let me take a badly needed breather. And I don't want to give it away but that battle between that creepy woman and Wolf (the dog on the cover) was my idea of horror (and it was a pretty good literary trick for it to be seen through the scope of an assassin). But of all the stories I think the story about Wiley and Eliot and Kenny was the best. This book is a little different and that's one of the things I like about it. I think with her first book Gill has dared to come out swinging and boy that's just so Chicago! (PS: I'm actually going to read it again. I know I missed stuff on the first read and want to go back and savor some it again. Yep, it's that good.)
LynnMacnichols More than 1 year ago
This book was a wonderful surprise. Never heard of this author before but a friend told me it was a great book and so I took a gamble for a few bucks - why not? Wow! What an interesting and smartly written story. I loved it because it wasn't formulaic or trite, it made me laugh (some spots were very funny, both LOL and chuckle quietly kind of funny) and there was great drama too, maybe even a few tearjerker parts. But most of all this writer just stunned me with her kick butt style and her willingness to go into some really unbelievably tough areas, like female genital mutilation and culture, religious fanaticism and racism, and she really makes you look at "crazy" a whole new way. I don't know how to describe this book really because it's not your usual suspense or detective or mystery or even love story but it's all of them all rolled into one with humor and gut wrenching moments too. The ending was a surprise (but so was the whole book) and I'm a fan. I checked out the author's webpage (cool lady) and will buy whatever other books she writes. And she has links to each topic she writes about so you can check that out too (like FGM, hate crimes, animal abuse). The cover SOOOOO fits the book too and she provides info abouty the dog and the cover too. I thought this book was refreshing and I bet this writer is going to get well known soon. (And since I'm a Chicagoan and love my city I really appreciated the parts about Chicago too!) I recommend this book totally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Prologue starts with a kidnapping and then this story only gets better from there. It's been a long time since a book written by a woman has grabbed my attention & held it, like this one. (You don't know how it pains me to have to write that--I am an avowed, old-time, march-in-the-streets, 1960s-era feminist.) This is an action, thriller to rival any!
NorthsideYenta More than 1 year ago
January Moon is the only book my husband and I both enjoyed. He likes action packed cop stories and dogs and I like books with characters I can really get into and dogs (OK, so we both like dog stories). He liked it for its fast pace and thrilling ending but I liked how it was layered with lots of nuances and packed with drama and he doesn't even understand what "nuances" means (is that like "mauve?" he asks sarcastically).He liked the interesting twists and turns and I loved the family dynamics. He liked Del and Wiley and Tooch and Frank and I loved Jess and her mom and Eliot and the female FBI agents. He got a kick out of the references to Chicago's streets and I enjoyed how the author handled Chicago's people. Mrs. Lupuserythematosis was priceless and so was Agnes Mehlman and Stanley Poiczyvoyczkym, a name that's like "Smith" in Chicago. He likes to get into the heads of hateful crazy people (murderers and creeps) and I like to get into the heads of people who sacrifice and love and I'd invite into my home. I like themes about love and redemption and he prefers plot over theme (he just asked "what's a theme?"). He eats jerky and I eat sushi; he speaks perfect Southside Chicagoese and was raised Irish-Italian Catholic and I was born in West Rogers Park, a nice Jewish girl with a family history probably like Abby Horowitz and we both understand the complexities of marriages like the the Zahidi-Weinstein union. We are true Chicagoans: complicated, simple, tough and soft and all of this comes out in Gill's writing. My husband is a businessman and I teach English (ESL) and he's blown away by how cleverly Gill weaves in history (a subject he loves)and I'm struck by her prose, her character development, how she's stepped out of the box and written something very unique, something that's maybe one of those rare literary hybrids that actually works. To me January Moon was comfort food, like brisket or cheescake for the soul. He thinks of January Moon as a killer blizzard that slammed into Chicago without warning, or maybe a deadly seiche out of Lake Michigan. You know what? This is one of those rare times we're both right. We will both be looking forward to more books from this talented author. And I think this is a very good book for book clubs because there's so much to discuss.
GoBears More than 1 year ago
I'm one of those guys who (this makes my feminist wife nuts) doesn't read fiction written by women.I like cop stories and (no offense ladies)think women write cop stories about female cops who secretly want to be Amish housewives and I get all kinds of mixed signals from those books. I like to keep it simple.(You put any mint or cream in my whiskey and I'll kill ya' - men know what I mean). My wife just left the room in a snit; oh well. She can write her own review. Anyway I just finished January Moon by Maureen Gill and I want to say Maureen proves there's an exception to every rule. The only label you can attach to her writing is "damn good." OK, so before I write more here's my disclaimer: I know Maureen Gill personally. But let me add I haven't seen or talked to her in years & I learned she wrote a great book through word of mouth (a loose network of old college friends). "No surprise, there," I thought, because everyone who knows Maureen knows she's a master of the written word. I don't even know how many prestigious awards she won in college. Who could keep track? Knowing Maureen, she probably doesn't even know (or care). I don't think she ever appreciated how damn good she was back then. She blew most of us away. I figured she'd just written some brilliant historical tome (Doris Whats-Your-Name Move Over) kind of book. "Fiction? You're kidding, me." (I didn't expect that.) "So, what's it about?" "It's about female genital mutilation, racism, a dog, a cult, religious fanaticism, cops, some FBI agents, a bunch of crazy people, a huge computer financial scam, a history professor, an interracial love affair, rednecks, and Ethiopians." "Ethiopians?" "Well, that's part of the humor because some parts are pretty funny. And she makes a lot of references to Chicago, Jews, Catholics, even St. Jude, and did I mention the dog?" "Yeah, you did." "OK, good. The dog's really cool. Oh, and the Yoopers." "Yoopers? Sounds like everything's in there but the proverbial kitchen sink. And here I thought she'd write history." "But that's what's so neat. I think she did, Craig. Brilliantly. Check it out." Hey, Moe, I did check it out and our old buddy Steve is right - you did it all brilliantly. Moe, you just knocked the ball out of the park, baby. You really did! Shelley & I are proud of you! Congrats & Go Chicago! (Oh, Shell just reminded me you don't like Moe and you use Mickey. Sorry, I always liked Moe.) To everyine who reads this: I recommend this book because honestly its fast-paced, very interesting, has some laughs, I like the plot, there's a hair raising battle at the end, and I like cop stories and dogs.
Radicalreader More than 1 year ago
I don't write reviews and I don't generally read them either but I'm making an exception because January Moon astonished me. I never read a book like this in my entire life and I haven't stopped talkig about it since I finished it. Every single character no matter how small to the story had depth, not like the usual "post it" people authors stick in that are so blah but it was in the main characters that this author slayed me and before this book was over I felt like we had laughed and cried and hugged together. This book is like potato chips on steroids; you can't get enough of it. Why isn't everyone talking abuot this book? It's so different but so good. This author has a totally different writing style than anyone I ever read and she tackles some heavy stuff but she does it with so much casual grace and even humor the book is not heavy or depressing and it's totally entertaining. It has some of the best dialogue I've ever read (I kept seeing it as a movie). What amazed me is how so many fascintating stories were woven through the story and in the end they all came together perfectly. It was BRILLIANT. This author is a superb, absolutely amazing story teller. I loved this book. I read there is anther by this same author but can't find it (March Storm). I want to read it! How can I find it? This is supposed to be a series but where are the other books? I will read them for sure.
HunterGuy More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good read. The author has a pretty neat style. It's unusual but entertaining. It grabbed me on the first page. The dialogue sounded real to me. Sometimes I wondered where the story was going. It got a bit convoluted but I stuck with it and I'm glad I did because it had a really good ending that made everything make sense. I ended up really liking the story because it was different and not formulaic like so many cop stories are. The ending sets you up for the next book which if there is one I will read. I thought it was a pretty intelligent book. I'd recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
2ManyBooks-2LittleTime More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this first novel by a talented author who really knows her subject matter. Several issues that provide the basis of the plot are unique in both presentation and timeliness, which fascinated me. Gill deftly grabbed my attention from the start and I willingly hung on for the thrilling ride! This is not only a well-plotted police procedural but it is also a great character-driven story. I felt that I really got to know both the primary and secondary characters, and came to care about several. Relationships are very important in this story and I enjoyed seeing how they evolved. There are many layers to this book that make for complex and suspenseful read. I really look foreward to Gill's next book, March Storm, which I understand will be out soon. M.N.
Sue-Paper_Mustang More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. I was warned before reading it that it dealt with a sensitive subject matter particularly for a woman. So I started reading this with some trepidation. Maureen handled the subject straight forward, head on and without apology or embarrassment. Without a doubt I will be doing research and helping to raise awareness of this serious and unacceptable practice. The story itself is a bit like Maureen. Straight forward, head on and without embarrassment. It was hard to read in places when dealing with the lowest scum of the earth and I'm sure it had to of been hard to write. I felt pain in some places and tears flowed a few times which is not normal for me. The characters were more than believable and I was right there with them catching their backs as they confronted opposition. I was pushing and encouraging when they needed it. I reached for the phone a few times to give someone a call that I felt might benefit from a cheerful voice just to realize it was just a book. Not that I would describe this as just a book. It is far more than that. The many sides of this book are obvious when you start reading it. Relationships are not one-sided and Maureen certainly doesn't paint a rosy picture of life here. But what she does do is give you champions, heroes and villains and she guides you through the rough times and into the light. I treasured every page and will re-read this book. I'm not sure if she adds the Trooper, Shadow and Wolf piece onto every version but when I read that I cried all over again. What a beautiful memory she has chosen to share with her readers and a great insight into her personal life and this just makes me adore Maureen all the more. This is a must read and one of very few books that I will read again and again. I kept having to check the cover to makes sure I wasn't reading a Dick Frances book. It's a great thriller and perfect study of human-kind at its lowest and best.
Tyler_TichelaarTT More than 1 year ago
Maureen Gill has burst onto the crime fiction scene with her new novel "January Moon." Gill's first novel, and the first in a projected series, features Chicago cop Del Carter, and each book in the series will be named for a different month, with "January Moon" being a great way to kick off the calendar year and a fast-paced, page-turning series. The title of "January Moon" refers to a strange prophecy around which the crime centers. The prophecy states that "The One who will be the Final Seed of Truth will be planted in the True Mother's Womb under the light of the brightest January Moon." Lieutenant Del Carter becomes involved in a crime investigation that largely revolves around this prophecy when his trucker dad picks up a young adolescent girl at a truck stop to protect her from some unsavory characters only to have her end up dying in his truck. The girl, known as Sunny, turns out to be the niece of Del's fiancée Jess. And just as shocking, Sunny has died from female genital mutilation being performed on her innocent young body. In the investigation, Del joins forces with several other cops as well as the FBI. Among Del's compatriots in solving the crime are Fred Wiley, a somewhat ornery homicide investigator with his own secrets about a past relationship, and an officer Wiley nicknames "Eggs" because his last name is Benedict, although "Eggs" isn't smart enough to get the joke. While solving the crime and bringing about justice, these characters discover they have their own personal issues to work out, making the reader as or more interested in the characters and their relationships as in solving the crime. In time, the investigation leads to a cult group on a compound in Illinois that is known as the All Faith Jerusalem Church. Sunny's mother, Evelyn, is not only a member of the cult, but she is the one who created the prophecies. The cult claims to embrace the best of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, while rejecting that Christ is the world's savior; instead, the cult believes a new savior will be born according to the January Moon prophecy. The leader of the cult, Jim Harte, is known as the Prophet. He claims to be a brilliant theologian, but he is also the tool of those who would use him to extort money from his followers and set up means to drain people's bank accounts electronically. Jim is also assisted and used by his sister, my favorite character in the book, Rae Harte-who doesn't love a good villain? Rae has become her brother's protector and comforter, but she also has her own agenda. She is wonderfully described in the book as behaving like "the Terminator playing Blanche Dubois" and as a female Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rae was apparently sexually abused in her past, and she decided to develop the strength of a man to make sure no one can hurt her again; the other characters speculate that she is on steroids, and she nearly brings Wiley to his knees when she shakes his hand. Because of the pacing and character development, I don't think I have been so hooked by a contemporary crime novel since I read Michael Connelly's "The Poet" many years ago. For a first novel, "January Moon" is an astonishing achievement, and I hope eleven more novels will quickly follow. - Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning "Narrow Lives"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KathleenValentine More than 1 year ago
Maureen Gill is from Chicago and she writes with the plain-spoken authority of mid-westerners, a style which suits the subject matter of this detective story perfectly. The story starts out with a bang. A truck-driver rescues an obviously ill, very young girl from a truck stop where she is being hit on by a group of young guys. The trucker, a decent, middle-aged guy gets her into his truck but soon realizes she is very, very ill - she dies in his truck and, after a panicked call to his wife, the girl is taken to a medical examiner where it is discovered she was the victim of female genital mutilation (FMG), a horrible practice which excises most of the victims' external genitals. I was familiar with the practice from reading Alice Walker's Possessing The Secret of Joy and the pain and suffering women "cut" in this way live with for the rest of their lives is unimaginable. But this young woman was a white girl living in the American mid-west not Africa. How could such a thing happen to her? From this dramatic and fascinating beginning Gill embarks on a roller coaster ride of bizarre, but believable, personalities from the good guys, including a likeable detective named Del Carter and a hard-boiled but incredibly seductive cop named Fred Wiley, to the bad guys, all of them under the control of the baddest of the bad guys, "guys" being questionable since Rae Harte is a steroid-driven man-woman who is a living, breathing hate machine - but a very, very smart one. Rae, it turns out, is the power behind the throne of a charismatic, lunatic preacher and leader of a cult where the lost, disenfranchised, and deluded live in a barracks-like compound away from the eyes of the world. Strange things are going on in there and, though the FBI has managed to infiltrate the group, things are not going all that well. There are several sub-plots which support the story well. Del is engaged to Jess and their romance, while a little too perfect at times, adds some tender relief from the tension of the story. More tantalizing and ultimately heart-breaking is Wiley's love for Eliot, a woman who loved him but rejected him thirty years earlier for reasons of her own which, when they are revealed, make your skin crawl. But Wiley never stopped loving her and, as the end of the story alludes to, never will. There is also a small group of disorganized, unfocused would-be terrorists and a whole collection of supporting characters ranging from the sublime (a dog named Wolf) to the ridiculous (a cop named Eggs). One of my favorite scenes takes place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a fascinating place anyway, and Gill has such an ear for dialect that she writes "Youpper" perfectly. In addition to the excellent characters, tight plot, and beautifully written dialog, Gill has sprinkled in no shortage of homages to Chicago area cuisine. Her descriptions of meals were a little too good at times - I had to put the book down and go to the kitchen. Gill's writing style is quick, spare, and hard-boiled. I personally like stories with a wide variety of characters and a strong sense of plac
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Themerribookwurm More than 1 year ago
January Moon is a really solid book you can sink your teeth into. It examines tough and meaty issues like racism, religious fundamentalism, female cutting, the ongoing tragedy of child abuse and how it warps its victims, family dynamics, and much more. There are rescued people in this book and a rescued dog and lots of drama but moments of great comic relief (Gill is wonderful at writing sardonic humor eg: "Eggs looked like it rang a bell, but not too loudly.") I think she's my new favorite writer. My son is reading it now and he likes it too (he's 29) so I think it's the kind of book that will have very large appeal. I highly recommend January Moon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago