The Moonlit Earth
Christopher Rice
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Buy *The Moonlit Earth* by Christopher Rice online

The Moonlit Earth
Christopher Rice
Gallery Books
384 pages
February 2011
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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This chilling novel of love and madness and terrorism is as glamorous as it is addictive with a fast-paced plot that explores the corruptive nature of high finance and a dark family secret that becomes a formula for chaos. Megan Reynolds returns to her home in Cathedral Beach after her life goes toe-up. Her wealthy, conservative cousin Lucas has offered to finance her new career running a non-profit organization - even though Megan is convinced that the sophisticated Lucas has an agenda that probably goes far beyond his sudden interest in her.

Meganís flight attendant brother, Cameron, has also arrived in Cathedral Beach for a charity party hosted by Lilah, their fashionable mother. Almost at once, Megan notices that Cameron seems distracted and distant. He tells her that he has recently reconnected with Parker, their father, after years of estrangement and that he has actually been living with Parker in his Playa del Rey house. Megan is appalled - she still holds a grudge against Parker for walking out on the two of them without ever saying goodbye.

Determined to not let anything come between her and Cameron, Megan never stops to consider the ramifications of Cameronís strange parting glances of love and his odd cryptic message to tell Lucas ďheíll be in touch.Ē When he suddenly becomes ďa person of interest,Ē inexplicably implicated after devastating bomb destroys the foyer of a luxurious hotel in Hong Kong, Megan finds herself interviewed by the FBI, surreptitiously used by them to cast suspicion on her brother while also being forced to defend him.

The nightmare of the tragedy only serves to drive home the weight of what has befallen Megan, Lucas and Lilah. Cameron is now missing, but his disappearance is neither simple nor innocent, a dark reality that casts a cloud over his character - especially when a video surfaces of a strange, unidentified Middle Eastern man who seemed to be escorting Cameron out of the hotel on the evening of the blast.

Infused with efforts to vindicate her brother, Rice intersperses Meganís dangerous journey to Hong Kong and her meeting with a mysterious Saudi killer with a series of Jason Bourne-style action sequences that reflect a world of casual bloodshed and a series of luxuries turned foul. The author writes with passion and confidence even when itís sometimes hard to follow his serpentine plot unfolding under the weight of Cameron's whereabouts and the machinations of the powerful Al-Faran family, who know nothing of Cameronís connection to Aarbid, the fragile son who has a crush on Cameron and has somehow painted himself as CameronĎs lord and savior.

Seeing shades, shadows and soft edges along with blood and sacrifice, there still remains the unanswered question behind the secret terrorist plot and the strange series of events that have reportedly turned Meganís fun-loving, glove-trotting brother into some kind of ridiculous covert operative. Even when the story gets bogged down, the real star of the book remains the seductive and lush landscapes of Hong Kong and the exotic islands of the South China Sea which literally immerse strong-willed Megan as she fanatically searches for redemption and deliverance for her beloved brother.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Michael Leonard, 2010

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