HARLOT'S MOON by Ed Gorman


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 For a change, psychological profiler (and unwilling amateur historian) Robert Payne's third case (Hawk Moon, 1996, etc.) involves his own past as much as anybody's. The phone call that takes him out to the Palms Hotel and Father Peter Daly's cooling corpse comes from his old friend Steve Gray, now Monsignor Gray of St. Mallory's parish. Why would anybody kill a priest? Father Daly's own past--replete with affairs with the parish women he was supposed to be counseling--provides suspects aplenty. But Payne, aghast at having discovered that the priest's tongue has been cut out, can't help linking his murder to a series of crimes Father Daly had been keeping newspaper clippings of: prostitute Tawanna Jackson (no eyes), child-molesting insurance exec Ronald Swanson (no left ear), and wife-beating schoolteacher Michael Grady (no ears on either side). Since all the victims were connected to St. Mallory's, there's obviously a connection, but what is it, and how far back does it go, and how many killers does it involve? Before Payne can put the pieces together, he'll need to come to terms with the return of his own past in the form of his hated stepfather, who's plopped himself on Payne's doorstep to die. Veteran Gorman plots too generously to allow any of the bewildered St. Mallory's sinners much time in the limelight, but they're all well worth your attention.

Pub Date: March 20th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18108-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1998


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