Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book Review: "Under A Raging Moon" by Frank Zafiro

It’s the fall of 1994 as this novel set in the city of River City, Washington opens. A gunman is robbing convenience stores all over the city. Nicknamed “Scarface” for the obvious scar down the left side of his face, he has just struck again.

Fourteen year veteran officer Thomas Chisolm who is also the current field training officer for rookie Maurice Payne is near the scene. They respond as do other units while the suspect flees through a dark construction yard. Ultimately, the suspect gets away but not before managing to wound Payne. As Chisolm notes, “He couldn’t stop wondering how much worse it was going to get.” (Page 13)

For the men and woman of the River City Police Department it is going to get a lot worse. In addition, to what goes on in their personal lives, things on the job are going to get worse. As the days and shifts pass, “Scarface” continues a rampage that quickly draws increasing media scrutiny. Add in internal political pressures and the everyday stress of the job, it isn’t surprising that while some thrive, others collapse under the weight.

The result is a riveting 299 page read from start to finish. Author Frank Zafiro paints a broad canvas depicting a number of character lives both in terms of the police and the criminals. In so doing, it becomes clear early on that the author’s personal knowledge is clear and relevant to his novel and not gained from watching television. By using so many characters and their stories, which are so intertwined in most cases, the author is able to depict not just life on the job but the toll it takes the personal life of the characters

That added character development does not hamper the story line. While the main story line is the hunt for the notorious “Scarface” numerous secondary storylines are created and not all are completed in this novel. A sequel is clearly planned, not only by way of the novel itself but by inclusion of the first chapter of the sequel at the end of this book.

This is a fast paced riveting novel and one that tries to bring the complexity of police life home to the reader. With rich complex characters, a powerful plot line, numerous secondary storylines and strong writing, the book succeeds on all levels. The result is a good read and the sequel can’t come out soon enough.

Book Details:

Under A Raging Moon
By Frank Zafiro
Wolfmont Publishing
June 2006
Large Trade Paperback
ISBN # 0-9778-4021-2

More next time and as always let me know what you think either here on the blog or directly to me at kevin_tipple@att.net

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