As an avid book reader who appreciates a good series to dive into, it’s fun when you discover a writer whose voice you really enjoy. Though there are many issues with Walking the Perfect Square, I liked this one a lot.
Reed Farrel Coleman has a great sense of time. His version of 70s New York City feels real and lived in. His main character, Moe Prager, is an interesting one. An Jewish ex-cop moonlighting here as a private eye for a high profile mystery case, Prager makes for a fun tour guide throughout the world Coleman is building.
The mystery itself is compelling and kept me guessing. And as with many good PI novels, the layering of the mystery is the most important thing, as mysteries in this genre are rarely stone-cold whodunnits. Coleman builds this one well, making it deep and guessable but not too confusing or ridiculous.
Also, the racial, sexual and gender politics of this book are surprisingly good. I know the old joke “A male feminist walks into a bar, it’s low” somewhat applies but since I endure so many eyeballing moments at a genre dominated by white people, especially men, I appreciated it.
The book has plenty of shortcomings, namely a tragic homosexual angle. Without giving too much away, there are some potentially triggering moments of homophobic violence. And again, even if there weren’t, the tragic homosexual is a tired trope in books. It really needs to die.
Also, I didn’t care much for most of the characters outside of Moe. The love interest one is written thinly; she’s given stuff to do but mostly kowtows to Moe’s mansplaining. And the bad guys here are reallllllly evillllll (rubs hands) which is kind of annoying.
So take those for what it’s worth but it wasn’t enough to diminish how much I enjoyed this book and how I will look forward to diving into this series.