Check out this week’s Crime Scene Readers Reviews of Bad Moon Rising by Frances di Plino
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Frances di Plino is the pseudonym of columnist, editor, non-fiction author and writing tutor, Lorraine Mace. Writing as Frances di Plino gives her the opportunity to allow the dark side of her personality to surface and take control.
As Lorraine Mace, she is a gentler creature, being humour columnist for Writing Magazine and a deputy editor of Words with JAM. She writes fiction for the women’s magazine market, features and photo-features for monthly glossy magazines and is a writing competition judge for Writers’ Forum.
She is a fiction and non-fiction tutor for the Writers Bureau, and is the author of the Writers Bureau course, Marketing Your Book. She is also co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of The Writer’s ABC Checklist (Accent Press).
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The single, biggest advantage of being a member of a book club is that it forces one in to exploring genres one normally avoids. Bad Moon Rising, a dark psychological thriller by Frances di Plino, is one such example which, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have touched with a ten-foot barge pole. Conversely, once started, I couldn’t put it down and finished it off in a single sitting. Why? Simple. Bad Moon Risingdoes everything it says on the tin and then some. It’s multi-layered, fast-paced, tense and gripping just as any good thriller ought to be. But more than this, the characters are well-developed, memorable and flawed in a way readers can relate to. Well, all except for the killer’s I hope! That said, I have to admit I skipped bits here and there. The majority of the story is told from Detective Inspector Paolo Storey’s point of view but occasionally it switches to the killer’s. Being a spineless jellyfish, I didn’t go there and instead jumped ahead. I don’t believe doing so detracted from the book because these scene changes are brief and clearly flagged. In fact, if anything, because I had no insight into the killer’s mind or methodology above and beyond what was revealed via Storey and the other characters, I believe it heightened the intrigue and kept me guessing right up until the end. Don’t you just love it when that happens?!
Follow Caren on Twitter @carenkennedy and blog @ http://carenkennedywrites.blogspot.ie/
I enjoy crime fiction, especially psychological thrillers, and I’ve quite a number of such books on my shelves. I don’t keep all that I read, most I recycle to local charity shops. Some, while an enjoyable read, are essentially pulp fiction. Patricia Cornwell, for example, comes to mind. I wanted to pick an author I didn’t know and Bad Moon Rising jumped out at me, I suppose because I know the song. I knew nothing about the author and still couldn’t tell you who wrote it without checking the text, other than it was an Italian sounding name (Frances di Plino, pen name of Lorraine Mace).
- 1.This is a fairly typical police procedural novel with the added bonus of a psychological thriller.
- 2.Paolo Storey is the lead character. He is flawed, deluded about his personal life, but essentially decent. His side kick Dave Johnson is introduced as a misogynist with his eye on the next sexual conquest.
- 3.The main villain is a sexually and religiously motivated serial killer and there are plenty of suspects for this role, including Dave the misogynist.
- 4.The victims are prostitutes whom the villain wants to “save”.
- 5.There are women in the novel but they really only feature as love interests, family or victims.
I found this book very difficult to get into. I’m used to diving into crime thrillers and finishing them in a day or at most two (as I did with The Chosen) so this wasn’t a great start. I resumed reading one evening and before I knew it I was turning the page to discover there was nothing left. I had gotten completely sucked in. Unlike some novels where you finish feeling vaguely dissatisfied, as if you’ve been deprived of the rest of the story, I finished this feeling strangely sated. Overall, I enjoyed the book once I got over my initial resistance. Because of the Italianate author, I had been hoping for something like Aurelio Zen, Michael Dibdin’s creation, who is one of my favourite European crime fiction characters. Paolo Storey is no Zen but he is a generally likeable character. Finally, I wouldn’t search out Paolo Storey again. If I read a second novel where he features it would probably be accidental. There is certainly scope for Paolo’s character to develop and I could see it transferring successfully to TV. It would have to be sepia tinted; Paolo inhabits a grimy and bleak world.
Follow Tara on Twitter @msfrugalone
This psychological crime thriller brings the reader straight to the action. It opens with the killer, but, I fear, that it may be a little too graphic for some readers, especially towards the end of this scene. It wasn’t apparent if this was just for the shock value, especially as the killer takes out a black leather casket to house his ‘trophy’ from his latest victim; yet this particular image is never mentioned again, anywhere in the book.
I did like the character of Detective Inspector Paolo Storey, who appears to be an all-round, nice guy and the conflict between him and his annoying sidekick DS Dave Johnson worked well. I found myself wanting to know more about the sexist DS, but I presume that this will be for another book. I found it a little strange, although not unbelievable, that Paolo seemed to have gone to the same school as so many of the male characters, but then this also allowed Paolo to share childhood observations with the reader which clouded our judgement on them.
The plot moves along well, allowing the readers imagination to flit from one suspect to another as Paolo’s home life; a daughter, Katy; an unreasonable ex-wife, Lydia; as well as the hint of what lies buried in the past; also butt in to the investigation. The relationship between father and daughter is well developed and helps build the tension. There is also the complicated relationship between Paolo and Dr Barbara Royston, the forensic pathologist.
The killer is preying on prostitutes, while his distorted mind convinces him that he is saving their souls for the Lord – saving them from their sinful lives! We see an image from his childhood that has helped to turn him into the sadistic killer he has become. There are more than a few twists and turns before eventually the gripping climatic end.
This is a crime thriller which offers the reader an insight into the darker side of crime fiction with an ending that leaves an opening for Paolo Storey to return and fight another day . . .