THE MOONLIT EARTH by Christopher Rice


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When a young flight attendant disappears during a terrorist bombing in Hong Kong, his sister must brave a series of conspiracies to clear his name.

The central characters in Rice’s lethargic latest (Blind Fall, 2008, etc.) are Megan Reynolds and her petulant brother Cameron. Newly unemployed, Megan is holed up with their socialite mother when Cameron shows up at her birthday party, where they get into an argument about their long-gone father. Soon after, Megan starts working for Lucas, a wealthy cousin who sets her up as head of a nonprofit environmental organization. Her plans are derailed when a massive explosion rips through Cameron’s hotel in Hong Kong, and a video camera catches him fleeing the scene with a Middle Eastern fixer. Following her brother’s trail to Hong Kong, Megan meets a young Saudi prince named Aabid, who explains at interminable length about his involvement with Cameron. Uncharacteristically, her brother had rejected the prince’s advances, and he’d also threatened to expose the bloodthirsty relationship between Aabid’s wealthy family and Zach Holder, a ruthless American mogul who is one of Lucas’ biggest clients. Rice manages to hold together a paper-thin plot and even makes some salient points about sexuality in Muslim cultures. These few worthwhile moments are swamped by an endless barrage of expository passages, ham-fisted action sequences and hackneyed dialogue. “I’ve only been seeing shades and shadows and soft edges. Now I see cracks and angles…and blood,” says Megan during a typical exchange. There are plenty of cracks in her story, that’s for sure.

A hollow potboiler.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7432-9407-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2010


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