Publication Order of Moe Prager Books
|Walking the Perfect Square||(2002)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Redemption Street||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The James Deans||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Soul Patch||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Empty Ever After||(2008)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Innocent Monster||(2010)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Hurt Machine||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Onion Street||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Hollow Girl||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Reed Farrel Coleman is the author of the Moe Prager detective series, although many would argue that this is not crime, nor is it detective, but rather a noir styled writing work. Despite the different writing styles and character development used by the former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America, Coleman has won three prestigious writing awards, the Shamus, Barry and Anthony Awards, for his ten novels, covering three series, in both his real name and his pseudonym, Tony Spinosa. The awards were presented for Coleman’s Moe Prager series.
Talking about Moe Prager, he is a very down-to-earth character. Many people can empathize with this character because of the very delicate human nature he presents to the reader. A simple Jewish man who has lost everything due to one accident now has to go through life making difficult decisions.
After leaving his job with the police force because of an injury to his knee, he struggles with human challenges daily. He is divorced, and has been separated from his daughter. Now, he is trying to make amends, while struggling to make peace with some of the decisions he’d made in the past or with himself, and struggling to choose the right decisions in his life now.
He decides that he needs to reopen a cold case from twenty years prior, and in doing so, earns his private investigator license. But, as with the rest of his life, he lets it lapse. He moves restlessly from job to job, remarrying and taking on a new family. But even that doesn’t hold him down. Prager is restless throughout, never comfortable with the decisions he is faced with, the life he has chosen, and never quite feeling like he is doing what he was sent to do.
Throughout the series, Moe Prager tends to grow both as a character and as a person. Despite his fear of the past repeating itself, and his fear of his choices, and his concerns over his past decisions and their effect on his future, Prager never seems to just completely give up. Even when he is questioning not only himself, but his religion, his beliefs, he is a steady character to relate to.
Walking a Perfect Square is not your average detective story. The story revolves around the retired police force member, Moe Prager, and his family and friends, as he strives to find a young boy who disappeared over twenty years ago. Prager and his wife face many obstacles along the way, and it soon becomes apparent that there are two victims: one victim is the average, perfect child, while the other has dark, hidden secrets, and it begins to worry Prager that perhaps the victim’s father does not actually want his son to be found. The fact that the case was issued after his forced retirement, and by a hospice patient that he did not know but who refused to talk to anyone but him, adds another twist to this story. As the time periods jump from the present to the past, the reader continually gets a deeper sense of the character.
In Redemption Street, Moe Prager continues on the path of the man who is unable to let go of the past, simply because he fears that his history will continue to repeat itself. Jobless after Walking a Perfect Square ends with his private investigator license lapsing, and taking a new wife and step-child, he finds working in a vineyard and wine shop with his brother to be not quite what he had in mind for his life. Once again, he is pulled reluctantly into a cold case file, this one a fire sixteen years ago, one that had taken the lives of many in the hotel which the case revolves around. This time, it isn’t a phone call, and it isn’t about the case, however. This time, the lure of money presents itself when the client comes into the wine shop, looking anxiously for Moe. Moe, in average restless fashion, seems to take his time with the case, and author Coleman even manages to throw in some decent plot twists. Despite the crime genre of the novel, however, these is quite a religious undertone to the theme, especially anti-religious themes such as the self-hatred some of the Jewish believers have, and the anti-Semitism of 1980’s New York City and the Catskills. Life choices once again play a huge role in the novels about the unusual Moe Prager, the family man private investigator.
This series of books is more along the lines of crime noir than your average detective, private investigator story, and in standing, Moe Prager is not quite your average gum shoe, either. Rather than being completely focused on the case at hand, Prager tends to ramble his thoughts between remembering the past and fearing the future while doing most of the filler work seemingly on autopilot. Also, the fact that Prager is a family man with a rather human character rather than the cold, factually-based bachelor plays another huge difference in this series from others in its genre.
The growth of Moe Prager throughout the detective series by Reed Farrel Coleman is one that is not only unusual for the typical private investigator, but also one that modern day society tends to put little focus on from a male’s perspective as a male. Instead of the strong, firm man who is rooted to his family and his religion, we find Moe Prager to go through undulations of familial ties, a questioning of his core beliefs and his religious values, questioning nearly every aspect of his life, and appears in general to be just a little obsessed with his inability to change the past or see the future, rather than working for what he currently has. This makes Moe a unique and interesting character, and one that should be watched throughout the entire series. He is a human character, and one cannot help but to feel empathy, pity, concern and even compassion for Moe Prager at several points throughout the books. As a more human and less heroic protagonist of the series, however, Prager does come across as harsh, unrelenting and unforgiving at times, and forces one to look deeper at ones’ self. The true duality of human nature is found, right here, in Reed Farrel Coleman’s main character, Moe Prager, and while some may love him for his seemingly weak side, others may hate him for his more strident, unforgiving ways. Either way, the Moe Prager detective series will leave you feeling emotional, and thrilled, and wanting more.Book Series In Order » Characters » Moe Prager