“It was August when our seven-year-old son went missing. On a Tuesday morning in Muskingum, Ohio, trees still green under the punishing late summer sun.” And so, Cooper’s Moon begins. While teaching philosophy at a small college in central Ohio, Cooper’s seven-year-old son, Maxie, is kidnapped, an event that would eventually destroy his marriage, his career, and his mental well-being, taking him from a rural, mid-western town into southeast Florida and into the vicious world of child prostitution, gangs, and church treachery.
The novel begins with a random shooting in the streets of south Miami where a young boy is killed. Cooper, now a homicide detective with the Miami Police Department, is called to the scene with his partner, Detective Anthony DeFelice. Caught in a shootout with gangbangers, Cooper is wounded and is taken to the hospital. He will remember one of the bangers in a later gunfight in Miami’s Gangland. Two weeks later, now recovered from his gunshot wounds, Cooper is called out to investigate the death of a twelve-year-old boy, Ethan Miller, whose body was found in a cemetery in south Miami. Soon after the murder, a teenage girl’s body is found in a cemetery in Oceanside, a small city to the south of Miami. This leads Cooper to believe there might be a connection.
Ethan Miller’s murder haunts Cooper, bringing back memories of his own son’s disappearance. It’s been seven years since Maxie vanished from his own yard. So Cooper, depressed over his failure to find his son, quits the force to focus on Maxie. But he needs money, so he becomes a private investigator and specializes in finding missing people. His first client is the mother of Ethan, the murdered twelve-year-old boy. Cooper’s leads take him to a priest who works with kids from the streets of Miami.
At the same time Cooper hears from DeFelice that a twelve-year-old boy, Eddie Dougherty, from Coral Gables is missing. Cooper’s search for Eddie brings him face-to-face with the reality of his own son’s disappearance some six years ago. Maxie would now be close to Eddie’s age. Cooper’s search for Eddie becomes an intensely personal one as he probes the dark side of Miami where he worked as a homicide detective: a section of Miami known as the “Hole” where even the garbage men don’t go. It’s Gangland. And even the cops don’t go there.
Cooper’s Moon ends in a chase through the Everglades after go-fast boots and the men who drive them and their human cargo. And in the madness of the chase, Cooper hopes for release from the seven-year-old search for his son as well for salvation for twelve-year-old Eddie and for Ethan Miller and his grieving mother, Hannah. And all of it happens under the Hunter’s Moon, Cooper’s Moon, as it stands vigil over the Big Swamp.
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No parent wants to lose a child. No parent wants to outlive her child. And when that happens, well, it's like getting hit by lightning on a perfect day, a sunny day. And that's what happened to Cooper and his wife, Jillie. On an average day in early fall, in front of their house, in a small rural Ohio town, on one of those perfect days, the sun out in full dress, not hiding behind clouds, Maxie playing in his front yard, his mom in the house, his dad teaching at the college--just steps away--and the boy chases a ball into the street. And only one person claimed to have seen him--a man whom the town considered ‘touched in the head’--and he said he saw Maxie get into the back of a dark car with a stranger and “That's the last I saw of him, I swear,” he said.
And that single devastating incident changes their lives forever. They spend a year searching for Maxie, fighting and blaming one another. Then Cooper gets a call from a friend in Miami, a homicide detective, who claims to have a clue to his son's disappearance. Cooper quits his job at the college and goes to Miami where he joins the Miami PD, hoping his new job will help him in his search for his son.
Cooper's Moon opens seven years after his son's disappearance with Cooper, now a homicide detective, at the scene of a shooting of a twelve-year-old boy near Little Haiti in Miami. From there, Cooper goes on the ride of his life that leads him ultimately to quit the department and open up his own private investigation firm where he specializes in looking for missing kids.
His first client is the mother of a murdered twelve-year-old boy. That case leads him into the dangerous world of gangs and kidnapping and high-speed chases through the Everglades as he risks his own life to track down missing children and save his own son.