The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman — review

The final novel in the Moe Prager series demonstrates again why these books and their protagonist are so popular with readers. Moe, a dyed-in-the-wool Brooklynite, ex-cop, PI and homespun philosopher who has beat stomach cancer, undertakes his final caper when Nancy Lustig, a figure from his very first case, retains him to find her missing daughter Sloane, now renamed Siobhan.

The daughter, as a teenager, who had gained notoriety and fame first as the Lost Girl in a series of performing art episodes on the internet, and then as the Hollow Girl as the happenings developed further, apparently is missing. Moe, who is wallowing in alcohol, still mourning the loss of his girl friend and soon-to-be-wife to an auto accident he witnessed from his apartment window, accepts the case, which gives him a steadying influence to help him emerge from his depression. Then the Hollow Girl begins to reappear after many years again on the internet, but this time in vicious attacks on her mother and father.

Naturally, the case develops differently from the original premise, and it falls to Moe to discover the facts and reasons for the woman’s performances, a plot that is a fitting conclusion to a storied career. The deep philosophical musings characteristic of the series remain front and center, and some of the more amusing comments and situations of previous volumes are not present here, but that is no deterrent from a serious finale setting the stage for Moe’s retirement.


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