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It's 1967 and Moe Prager is wandering aimlessly through his college career and his life. All that changes when his girlfriend Mindy is viciously beaten into a coma and left to die on the snow-covered streets of Brooklyn. Suddenly, Moe has purpose. He is determined to find out who's done this to Mindy and why. But Mindy is not the only person in Moe's life who's in danger. Someone is also trying to kill his best and oldest ...
It's 1967 and Moe Prager is wandering aimlessly through his college career and his life. All that changes when his girlfriend Mindy is viciously beaten into a coma and left to die on the snow-covered streets of Brooklyn. Suddenly, Moe has purpose. He is determined to find out who's done this to Mindy and why. But Mindy is not the only person in Moe's life who's in danger. Someone is also trying to kill his best and oldest friend, Bobby Friedman.
Things get really strange when Moe enlists the aid of Lids, a half-cracked genius drug pusher from the old neighborhood. Lids hooks Moe up with his first solid information. Problem is, the info seems to take Moe in five directions at once and leads to more questions than answers. How is a bitter old camp survivor connected to the dead man in the apartment above his fixit shop, or to the OD-ed junkie found on the boardwalk in Coney Island? What could an underground radical group have to do with the local Mafioso capo? And where do Mindy and Bobby fit into any of this?
Moe will risk everything to find the answers. He will travel from the pot-holed pavement of Brighton Beach to the Pocono Mountains to the runways at Kennedy Airport. But no matter how far he goes or how fast he gets there, all roads lead to Onion Street.
"The seventh outing (after Hurt Machine) for PI (and former NYPD cop) Moe Prager makes an effective coming-of-age prequel, explaining how he got into police work in the first place. Coleman has won multiple awards for his gritty but soulful series, and this entry is of that same high caliber. Don't miss it." --Library Journal
"Coleman's latest - a prequel to the award-winning Moe Prager series - is a slam-dunk recommendation for readers drawn to smart, gritty, crime fiction with label-defying characters. Coleman . . . nicely balanc[es] plot and action." --Booklist, Starred Review
"Edgar-finalist Coleman's outstanding eighth Moe Prager mystery (after 2011's Hurt Machine) explains how the NYPD detective turned PI became a cop. The 2012 funeral of an old friend prompts Prager to recount the complex history he shared with the dead man, Bobby Friedman. The twists and turns are unpredictable, but Coleman pulls everything together by the end." --Publisher's WeeklyStarred Review
"Very entertaining company on the beach before the summer slips away." --Penthouse
"The story is exciting enough by itself, it's simply a good mystery story, but what makes it so great is the little pieces of foreshadowing of Prager's future . . . An interesting character study as well as a piece of good historical hardboiled fiction. This one's recommended. Highly." --Sons of Spade blog
"Moe Prager fans are in for a treat as novice crime fighter Moe attempts to solve this convoluted case, giving insight into the cop, PI, and man he eventually becomes. [Coleman] . . . paint[s] a setting so vividly that readers are immersed in the dreariness and despair of 1967 Brooklyn, makes for a book that's difficult to put down." --Mystery Scene Magazine
"There's a lot to enjoy here. It's a book that many Moe fans will enjoy. It's also one that newcomers might find interesting and, in case they don't already know, there's a lot to come if they become hooked." --Sea Minor blog
"For long-time fans of Prager and creator Reed Farrel Coleman, the novel sheds a new and welcome dimension on a long-admired and much-beloved protagonist. It provides a sharp and clearly defined literary snapshot of a tumultuous era . . . The element that I enjoyed most about the book was the manner in which it presented its host of street characters, all of whom had real-life counterparts in the life of anyone who was of age during the 1960s . . . Onion Street is worth reading for that reason alone." --BookReporter.com
"Coleman . . . use[s] the late Sixties, as well as [his] prose poet style, to look at [his] characters in fresh and exciting ways." --Mystery People
"The bones of this story is your typical noir, though Coleman, the master of the twist, never lets the story stray into formula. This story is very organic, and several details resonated with me. Freed from the constraints of a series, Coleman has written what is probably his best novel yet." --Edged in Blue
"A satisfying addition to the series, demonstrating Coleman's trademark humor, twisty plotting, well-developed characters, and an evocative and authentic portrait of the author's beloved Brooklyn. For those who have not yet discovered the series, Onion Street is an excellent place to start." --Reviewing the Evidence
"A deep moral story involving right and wrong . . . Moe’s various actions can be questioned, while his intentions are always honorable. All in all, it is a very human saga, and we get to know Moe a lot better in a serious way. Recommended." --Spinetingler Magazine
Posted September 10, 2013
After seven novels in the Moe Prager mystery series, a retrospective is in order, especially after Moe has undergone surgery and chemotherapy for stomach cancer. The occasion follows the funeral of a boyhood (and best) friend, after which his daughter, visiting from Vermont, asks him why he became a cop, and what follows is a story by itself.
Moe looks back to events in 1968 when he and his friends were attending Brooklyn College. The Vietnam War was raging, radicalism was in the air, and Moe was at loose ends. One night his girlfriend is found in a coma on the street, apparently having been viciously beaten, and suddenly Moe has a mission: to find the man who beat her up, taking him on a journey that later led him to become a policeman and PI.
It is a hard-boiled tale involving all the worst elements of the period, bomb-throwing radicals, dope pushers, rotten cops and the like. It also is a deep moral story involving right and wrong. The humor of past Moe Prager novels is missing from “Onion Street,” but that is completely understandable: it is not a light-hearted subject with deaths strewn along the way. And some of Moe’s various actions can be questioned, while his intentions are always honorable. All in all, it is a very human saga, and we get to know Moe a lot better in a serious way. Recommended.
Posted May 18, 2013
I feel like I got on the wrong bus, got off at the wrong stop, sat in the wrong Sunday school class, and then raised my hand with the wrong answer to a gimme question. If this were a fishing expedition, I somehow ended up on the wrong pier, in the wrong state, with the wrong lure, and I’d even forgotten my damn hat (the fedora that I keep handy for emergency purposes).
I’d really prefer not piss off a slew of Reed Farrel Coleman fans and have them banging on my doorstep at all hours of the day or night, but I also can’t inflate my rating for a book that I didn’t enjoy. So, if you insist on paying me a visit, you’re welcome to visit me at my winter home in North Pole, Alaska.
Mr. Coleman sure has his literary credentials in order. And he has more starred reviews than Britney Spears has pairs of underwear.
But reading this book reminded me of a one-man missile operator. The clichés seemed to attack me every few pages; the dialogue seemed a bit trite and stilted; the pages moved at a glacier’s pace; and I found myself plugging toothpicks in my eyes to continue reading. As I waited for someone to push the giant red button, I ended up off-roading more than I stayed on the asphalt.
I did, however, enjoy the premise: an amateur sleuth working on his college education, investigating the attempted demise of his love interest. And the voice did make me want to break out my fedora on occasion, but I often, and just as quickly, wanted to shove it back in the closet and slam the door.
Most people enjoy the Moe Prager novels, and you might as well, but I just wasn’t one of them.
I received this book for free through NetGalley.
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
Posted May 8, 2013
I've read all of the first seven Moe Prager books by Reed Farrel Colemand and I've enjoyed each and every episode in the life of the former Brooklyn cop turned some-time private investigator.
Now, author Coleman goes back to Moe's beginnings with a prequel that takes place in Brooklyn in 1967 and shares the story of just what might have lead Moe in the path he takes (or stumbles through) in life.
I never like to give away anything spoilerish in reviews, but this book is a wonderful read, a real can't-put-it-down page turner with dark humor and great characters. Whether you've read the rest of the series or if you decide to start here with the series prequel (and then you'll be sure to go back and read the rest of the series), I think you'll have a very good time getting to know Moe Prager and the writing of Reed Farrel Coleman. Enjoy!