Have You Ever Yelled at a Book Character Who Is Nuts?
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This book was moving along smoothly and engagingly until it got to page 140 (out of 296) when a new story line was introduced. OK, I could handle that. But then, on page 220, still another plot line entered the picture. This one was insane! The proposed plan would have caused all hell to break loose! I had to put the book down and take a couple of deep breaths. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there with the characters.
This reminded me of the previous book I had read by this author, Ask Again, Yes. As I wrote in that review, “I found myself shouting at one of the characters in this book with regularity. ‘No! Don’t do that! That’s a bad idea! Are you nuts?'”
Here I was again, needing to shout at the characters.
So here is what I can tell you about The Half Moon without spoiling it for you. It is the story of Malcolm and Jess Gephardt, a couple who are estranged and living separately after years of struggling through fertility issues. He owns a bar called The Half Moon. She is an attorney. The bar is a stressor too. It is old and in need of lots of help, but more distressing, Malcolm is in debt and right there on page six, we meet a shady character named Billy, who hangs around the bar to make sure Malcolm doesn’t forget it.
As the book opens, Malcolm is working at the bar on a Friday when a snow storm is heading into town. Two dear friends stop by to chat with him. They have news about Jess. She has just moved in with another man, Neil Bratton, a new-ish guy in town. Evidently the whole town knew about this, but not Malcolm.
The author writes in a very compelling manner about the rise and fall of Malcolm and Jess’s marriage. It’s easy to see how drastically infertility impacted things. It’s easy to see that they might need a little bit of time apart to think. And it’s especially easy to see how Jess might have fallen for Neil. There is definitely some chemistry going on there! But as the author buzzes along with this story, I began to wonder where she could take the tale. To break up for good or to patch things up might be true to life, but perhaps not enough drama for a novel.
And so, on page 140, we learn about a man in town who has gone missing, Tripp Waggoner. The last time he was seen, was at the bar with Malcolm on Friday night, the night the snow storm came along. When the police come around to ask questions on Sunday, it seems that various options exist. He somehow got lost – perhaps stumbled and fell in the snow storm and died from hypothermia. Or maybe there was foul play and someone harmed him. Or maybe he just left his wife and family behind for parts unknown. He always talked a lot about a village in Peru called Ollantaytambo, hmmm….
And that’s where I am going to leave you. I promise that the author will let you know how Tripp’s choices in life impact Malcolm, and by extension, Jess. I promise that the craziness on page 220 will follow – sort of – from there. I promise Jess will live happily ever after with Malcolm – or with Neil. And if you are like I am, I promise that you’ll want to keep turning pages until all the parts of this puzzle come together by book’s end.
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