Moon Music

Moon Music

4.1 20
by Faye Kellerman

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Critically praised for creating multidimensional heroes as well as searing story lines, Kellerman forges into new territory with Moon Music, claiming the glitter city of Las Vegas as her own.

Called in to investigate the mutilation murder of a young showgirl, Detective Sergeant Romulus Poe is struck by the case's dreaded similarities to a horrendous slaying


Critically praised for creating multidimensional heroes as well as searing story lines, Kellerman forges into new territory with Moon Music, claiming the glitter city of Las Vegas as her own.

Called in to investigate the mutilation murder of a young showgirl, Detective Sergeant Romulus Poe is struck by the case's dreaded similarities to a horrendous slaying done by an anonymous monster dubbed "the Bogeyman." Even in a city known for its excesses, this crime is particularly shocking because of the animalistic destruction of the body. A loner with a love of justice, Poe immerses himself in the horrific case, forming a team consisting of the handsome detective Stephen Jensen, his colleague but not a friend; Detective Patricia Deluca, a homicide newcomer; and forensic pathologist Rukmani Kalil, who is also Poe's part-time, unorthodox girlfriend. From the start, the team is mired in a web of intrigue. And the urgency of resolution becomes frenzied when another body is found in the desert.

From Native American mysticism and medieval folk legends to untold 20th- century scientific secrets, Poe must sift through Vegas's sordid past and dark underbelly to solve a series of gruesome murders -- and to save a beautiful woman he had once loved -- before all of them are caught in a deadly dance of Moon Music.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
A lot of reviewers have noted lately that too many bestselling writers are writing the same book over and over again. Nobody is ever going to accuse Faye Kellerman of that. Not after this book.

Her new novel Moon Music is not only the best book she's ever written, it's also one of this year's most unique and riveting reads, a mystery that contains elements of horror, metaphysics, and Native American culture.

The novel is way too complex to outline coherently, so let's just say that while it starts out not unlike a police procedural, involving the murder of a mutilated Las Vegas prostitute, it is filled with the faint, echoing cries of a shadowy netherworld that Kellerman makes perfectly believable. That netherworld, Kellerman is saying, is there for all of us to see — if we just know how to look. She finds evidence of it in some mighty strange and disturbing places, for the murdered woman leads detective Romulus Poe to learn that she was once the mistress of one of his colleagues, and the killing also seems to have some bearing on a much older murder. Complicating things is Poe's relationship with his police colleague's wife — she and Poe were once lovers. Thus, there are two powerful story lines operating here — the police investigation through seedy Las Vegas, and Poe's look back at his own troubled life. Kellerman dovetails these plotlines skillfully.

The setup reminds me a bit of Richard Matheson's brilliant Las Vegas vampire story The Night Stalker, the Vegas atmosphere, with its sociological climate, offering the author a perfect opportunity tomixdrama with sly humor. Her detective Poe has a unique take on his city. And on himself. Kellerman is a master of the sly aside, and she's never been nimbler:

Poe watched as she bounced toward the office. His groin was still fixated on her ass. But his mind was elsewhere — thinking about the claws of a possessed woman, a howling coyote with doleful eyes, and a rattler with a bite as painful of rejection.

Poe, as the last image implies, can tell you a whole lot about rejection, especially in his love life, which Kellerman fleshes out with glum, rueful details. A disco dandy he ain't. Nor a white knight. He's a more believable cop (he has his good-cop days, his bad-cop days) than we've seen in a long time, even in books written by cops.

Kellerman's voice as a social commentator and urban historian has never been stronger, nor her writing more exemplary. She makes the city a true (and truly menacing) character. Science and sociology can explain away some of the menace — but not all of it. It's one of the best Vegas books I've ever read. She also does something daring and spectacular with the various aspects of the investigation, the mysticism and the folk legends particularly. Instead of using them as simple window dressing, and explaining them away in scholarly terms, she turns them into urban legend — they seem fresh, raw, modern, inexorably bound up with the history of Las Vegas itself. These moments are dark and scary indeed. She really knows how to handle all this new material.

While some readers will no doubt miss Kellerman's regular crew, they will be genuinely rewarded by this dark, evocative, strange, and yet utterly believable novel. Faye Kellerman rolled the dice on this one — and won big.

—Ed Gorman

Baltimore Sun
No one working in the crime genre is better.
Dallas Morning News and dynamic..a novel that combines intelligent detection and thrills...with a good dollop of abnormal psychology.
Washington Post Book World
Mrs. Kellerman is taking a big risk here, and I think she pulls it off in fine style.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.38(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ignoring the subtle vibrations under his pillow because he was just too damn comfortable. Warm and sated, inhaling the rich sensuality of musky sex. With force, Jensen opened a rebellious lid, his vision assaulted by the Strip's strobic neon. Outside the winds moaned, pushing everything in their paths. Grit crackled against the picture window as his eyes swept over the vista. A panoply of garish colors nonexistent in nature.

Looking away from the glass, back down at his covers. Beside him, Gretchen slept—young and little—beads of sweat lining the crack of her small, round ass. He wanted to take a bite out of it. His breathing became pronounced, audible.

Then his pager went off again.

Jensen swore to himself, then, with resignation, lifted his head from the pillow. He'd never realized how much a cranium could weigh. Digging his palms into the mattress, he hoisted his large frame forward until he was sitting. He tried to make out the number in the dark, but gave up and flicked on the light.

"Hmmm," she grunted. "Turn it off."

"In a minute."

"What time is it?"

Jensen's heart jumped as he read the number. Rom's mobile phone. How long had he been beeping in?

"What time—"

"One-thirty," he snapped back.

"One-thirty?" She was whining now. "C' mon, baby. Bebe says we got the room until three. Turn off the light."

Jensen already had his pants on. "I've got to go."

"But it's so nasty outside."

"Nasty" was an understatement. The wind was howling dust and sand. Jensen slipped on his shirt and socks and tiedhis size eleven shoes. Brought up the hotel's outside line and punched in Rom's numbers. Static over the wires like lightning. Still he could make out a terse "Poe."

"It's Steve."

"Lemme go inside my car. If we get disconnected, call me back."

The line managed to keep as whooshing sounds, like tidal waves, came through the receiver. Jensen knotted his tie, then stroked Gretchen's ass. She purred, then rolled over and made a little snoring noise. Just as well. No sense starting what couldn't be finished. He heard the pop of the car door closing, the gusts die down. "What's up?"

"You turn your pager off, Stephen?"

"Why? How many times did you beep me?"

"Half a dozen."

Jensen knew Poe was exaggerating. "Must have slept through it."

Not a total lie, but one Poe wasn't about to buy. "You know, I almost broke down and called your house."

Jensen's heart started hammering. For once, he paused before speaking. Rom had said "almost."

As if Alison didn't know. Yet she chose to play dumb. After fifteen years of marriage, he still hadn't figured her out. In the early years, she had kept him at arm's length. He had put it down to her youthful shyness . . . their difference in age. Later on, her mental state made her impenetrable, her mind blocked by a steel-trap door of undiagnosed illness.

Jensen was all professional now. "What's going down, Rom?"

"Single desert dump off West Charleston."

"In Red Rock?"

"Before." Poe gave directions. "And, in answer to your unasked question—how someone came upon the body by happenstance at this time of night and in this weather—no, it doesn't make any sense. The call came through a public phone outside Big Top." A beat. "Where are you, by the way?"

"Big Top." Pause. "Want me to go downstairs and check it out?"

"You have a print kit on you, Steve?"

"I meant to guard the phone." Jensen's voice rose a notch. "You got a problem with me tonight, Rom?"

I've got a problem with you every night, Stevie. Instead, Poe said, "I've already sent someone down to dust. But sure, go down and take a peek if you think it'll do some good." A hesitation. "I've got to get back, watch the corpse to make sure the sand doesn't totally bury it before the ME gets here."

"Stiff a male or female?"

"Female. One of her breasts was partially exposed. I can't tell if her entire body is nude, because the rest of her is coated with sand. I couldn't find a purse or any ID. Useless to search now. Tomorrow we'll go on a treasure hunt to look for things tossed and blown."

"Who's we?"

"You, me . . . probably Patricia." Poe swiped limp, dark hair from his black eyes, stared out the windshield of the Honda. Darker than syrup and about as thick. Even the moon was having trouble breaking through. "After you check out the phone booth, get down here. And bring some light. The grit is so thick I can barely make out my shadow."

Over the line, Jensen said, "Why don't you hammer down a stake and go home?" A pause. "Body'll keep till morning."

Poe could picture Steve's flip smile as he caressed the backside of his latest mistress. What was her name again?

Greta? Something like that. "I'm hanging up."

And he did.



To prevent hair from blowing into his eyes, Poe had attempted a ponytail. But the lank tresses were too short and kept coming loose, tickling his eyes, making them red and irritated. He blinked repeatedly, wishing he had brought his protective goggles. His disposable face mask did little to cut the sting of the grit. He snapped his fingers through gloves, then caught himself and dropped his hands at his sides. A makeshift tent had been erected around the stiff, an attempt to give it and the pathologist some protection. Inside, flashlight beams shimmied in strobic fashion. Jensen was standing a few feet away, hands tucked into his pockets, coat collar turned up. Poe sensed the burn from the big man's suspicious eyes. Jensen was ten years older than he, a good six inches taller, outweighed him by fifty pounds of muscle. But circumstances had dictated that professionally the younger would rule the elder.


Meet the Author

Faye Kellerman lives with her husband, New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, in Los Angeles, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Brief Biography

Beverly Hills, California
Date of Birth:
July 31, 1952
Place of Birth:
St. Louis, Missouri
B.A. in Mathematics, 1974; D.D.A., 1978

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Moon Music 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this many years ago in hard cover, but lost my copy. I was thrilled to find the NOOKcolor version, so I could finally read it again. If you like Kellerman, you will love Moon Music. This is a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first of Faye Kellerman's books that I read and from reading this book I know that it won't be the last. This book, which I thought would be a mystery turned in to something much more complicated. So I recommend reading the book when you can give your full attention to the story. The only thing I didn't like about this book was that the killer was obvious from the beginning. But despite the book's complexity and the lack of a mystery killer, it was a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of the Peter Decker / Rina Lazarus novels by Kellerman and this was quite different. Very intriquing and a nice step out of the usual detective story line. It is nice to see an author branch out into slightly different areas and plot lines. Patricia Cornwell has done this too , with her police novels , Hornets Nest and Southern Cross.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I started this book with good intentions. I read it to the end and it just got steadily worse. The end was just unbelievable. None of the characters were sympathetic. By the end I could have cared less about what happened to all of them e.g. whether Pat was 'lunch' for Steve's wife, you know the one who needed to shave her legs. . . .etc. I think this will be the last book I ever read by Kellerman(actually this was the first Kellerman book I read). She can't seem to decide whether she wants to write a mystery or a book about someone who turns into a wolf or thinks they are a wolf. . . this seemed to be a confusing thing for Rom also.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
It started out as an excellent murder mystery. Even though it was easy to figure out who the killer was early in the book, it was a compelling story for the first 350 pages. At that point, it got just plain weird and unbelievable. What was a murder mystery turned into a sci-fi fantasy. I was very disappointed with the way the book ended. The beginning and the end of the book didn't seem to match and left the story disjointed. It was as though the author just didn't know what to do and created some off the wall ending. The book contains adult situations with descriptive violence and sexual situations. I wish she would have ended the book about 50 pages before the true ending when it was still a murder story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Attention grabbing from start to finish!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A real heart-stopping, breath-taking, full of action, suspense, intrigue, exciter. Can't put it down. Faye outdoes herself. My favorite of hers. Characters are brilliant. Excellent story, believable plot, once you get to the part of WHY this happened. Spooky. King and Koontz could not have done better. Great going Faye. A MUST HAVE BOOK
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without giving away the ending, I did not like the surreal quality of the solution. It was a little too far out for what I expected of Faye Kellerman. I really enjoyed most of the characters, and the mystery end, but not the solution.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read a book by this author which was a disappointment. When I see a Faye Kellerman book on the shelf in a bookstore, I buy it without even having to look inside the cover or read the summation.
Twerpus More than 1 year ago
A bit of mystery, a bit of the myths, a bit of science, a whole lot of suspense. Although I can't say I completely bought into the ending, it was certainly a good read. If I had any criticism it's that the characters were, perhaps, too flawed. There's usually a strong, albeit sometimes twisted, moral core to Kellerman's characters that seemed missing, or maybe too well hidden, in this effort. Regardless, I highly recommend 'Moon Music' and, if this is the first time you've read Kellerman's work, then I'd suggest trying some of her other novels if this wasn't quite your cuppa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gotta go to bed same place tommorow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BTW happy birthday, Ross!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wann fuq?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Would not surprise me....(: