Moon Music

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Overview

Just outside the city's neon Strip, in the bleak wastelands of Nevada's desert, the Las Vegas Metro Police discover the mauled corpse of a young and beautiful showgirl. Even in a city known for its excesses - from Arab sheiks to casino billionaires - this crime is particularly shocking because of the animalistic destruction of the body. Called to the crime scene is Detective Sergeant Romulus Poe - a thirty-five-year-old Vegas native and a seasoned, fifteen-year veteran. A loner with a love of justice, Poe ...
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Moon Music: A Novel

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Overview

Just outside the city's neon Strip, in the bleak wastelands of Nevada's desert, the Las Vegas Metro Police discover the mauled corpse of a young and beautiful showgirl. Even in a city known for its excesses - from Arab sheiks to casino billionaires - this crime is particularly shocking because of the animalistic destruction of the body. Called to the crime scene is Detective Sergeant Romulus Poe - a thirty-five-year-old Vegas native and a seasoned, fifteen-year veteran. A loner with a love of justice, Poe immerses himself in the horrific case. Poe is particularly struck by dread similarities to a slaying by an anonymous monster dubbed the Bogeyman. Immediately, Poe forms an investigatory team consisting of the handsome detective Stephen Jensen, his colleague but no friend; Detective Patricia Deluca, a homicide newcomer; and forensic pathologist Rukmani Kalil, who is also Poe's part-time girlfriend. From Native American mysticism and medieval folk legends to untold twentieth-century secrets, Poe must explore Vegas's sordid past and dark underbelly to solve a series of gruesome murders - and save a beautiful woman he once loved - before all of them are caught in a deadly dance of moon music.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
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
Fascinating...fast-paced 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.
Dallas Morning News
Fascinating. . . Fast-paced and dynamic. . . . .
Washington Post Book World
Mrs. Kellerman is taking a big risk here, and I think she pulls it off in fine style. .
Baltimore Sun
No one working in the crime genre is better.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380726264
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/6/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Faye  Kellerman

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

Biography

It's tempting to compare Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus to Dashiell Hammett's classic crime-solving couple, Nick and Nora Charles. But Faye Kellerman's duo, who debuted in 1983, bear more resemblance to her own husband-wife dynamic with fellow bestselling thriller author Jonathan Kellerman. Decker is an L.A. cop; wife Rina is an Orthodox Jewish mom who gets very involved in her husband's work. The series comes with a love story built in, since in the first title, Ritual Bath, Lazarus is a witness meeting Detective Decker for the first time. Over the next dozen-odd novels, the two fall in love, get married, have children and solve crimes along the way.

Kellerman, who was inspired by her husband to begin writing, is also the author of Moon Music, a contemporary thriller set in Las Vegas, and The Quality of Mercy, a historical novel of Elizabethan England. Fans needn't worry, however, that Kellerman is going to abandon the pair she is best known for. "I never tire of them," Kellerman says in an interview on her publisher's web site of Decker and Lazarus. "I like them very much, but to keep them fresh is the main reason why I have two 'outside-the-series' or 'stand alone' books. Once in a while you have to sit back and gain some perspective on these people that you are writing about year after year."

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

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.

 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Kellerman's Best!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2001

    Different, but Excellent

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2001

    One of the best by Kellerman :)

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    As in AUSTIN moon???

    BTW happy birthday, Ross!! :)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2013

    Willa to andy

    Hi. I missed seeing your bio.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Liv

    I will be there now everyday

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Catlyn

    Wann fuq?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Britt

    I gotta go to bed same place tommorow

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    No one here 2013....

    RENEW!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

    Alicia

    Would not surprise me....(:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Btrtbyyby,ybtvububfyvyjfsjiyfjhjisstbunuhubphiiftvububexcr yvyvt

    Ybybgbyvybiinom

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Well worth the read...

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    SUSPENSE! Doesn't begin to describe this Book

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2000

    Beneath Faye Kellerman's Ability

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2000

    Faye Kellerman never disappoints

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 1999

    Howling in Las Vegas

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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