In Hurt Machine (Tyrus Books) Reed Farrel Coleman’s continuing private eye series, ex-cop Moe Prager investigates the execution style murder of his former sister-in-law, Alta, a New York City paramedic who, shortly before her death, refused to help a dying man in a restaurant.
There’s plenty of people who seem to be angry enough with Alta (and her partner), to want them dead. Moe has to go undercover and sift through them all so as not to arouse suspicions. And like the good P.I. that he is, he keeps a stack of various business cards; insurance salesman, etc. to gain information unwittingly. Moe is getting older and unfortunately battling a serious illness, yet he’s still able to pound back the alcohol and kick a few butts along the way.
Hurt Machine is a pleasure to read, Moe’s character is well developed and the story is rich in detail and history of New York city, the local bars, restaurants, neighborhoods and people. Coleman is skilled at creating a character out of place, something I’ve always admired in a writer. He also digs deep into the psyche of cops and firefighters which is completely fascinating and generates an authenticity to his writing. There’s excellent tension threaded throughout the story that keeps your mind active, wanting to know how the whole thing will play out.
Even though this was my first Moe Prager book, it read well as a stand alone with just enough back story to keep you updated. Hurt Machine is a tense, hard-boiled superbly written novel with all the genuine rawness and grit you would expect from a good P.I story. Looking forward to more Reed Farrel Coleman books. Loved it. Highly recommended.