The police officer sat seriously wounded in the front seat of the squad car, head on the headrest behind him, and thought, we live and work under the moon every night, and now, I will die here under the raging moon. He drew a wet, shuddering breath and let it out slowly.
These are the words of one of the characters in Under the Raging Moon that author Frank Zafiro chooses to be in the middle of most of the action.
Zafiro, a working police sergeant in Washington State, uses the fictitious River City as the location for his first published novel, with others on the way. Zafiro has also written and published many short stories in the police/crime genre. Under A Raging Moon is running chronology of a police precinct covering several shifts of working hours and the characters within.
As the story begins, River City police are trying to apprehend a serial robber who seems to be striking convenience stores without fear of arrest, injury or death. He vanishes within minutes of the robberies, even when the police have surrounded and blocked off the area. The robber is into double-figure statistics when it suddenly dawns on veteran Patrolman Winters how the thief is escaping without being seen.
Throughout the book, Zafiro complements his work by revealing the inner feelings of the men and women of the precinct, their petty jealousies, heavy drinking in some cases, divorces, their real grievances, and yes, even the occasional love affair. They frequent a local bar when off duty, and there, under the haze of cigarettes and alcohol, many truths and hard feelings are revealed. In a way, the story is cross-generational. There is youthful energy, middle-aged expertise, and sometimes too much traditional observance. Zafiro covers the routine traffic stops that the police perform and the strange, perilous events that sometimes follow those stops. He, of course, does not omit the most common of the dangerous calls that a police officer can receive, the domestic dispute.
The hold-up man is an addict with a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army Rangers after five years of service. He lives with two female addicts, and between the three of them it is an endless race for a fix - and the money to obtain that fix – every day of the week. Even with all of the money that the robber brings in, one of the girls decides to earn her own money by going back to prostitution.
If you enjoy this genre and take great pleasure in reading police stories, this novel is definitely for you. This particular story is gritty, profane, and compelling; the excitement is fast-paced and loaded with sharp dialogue. Zafiro’s style of writing is short, quick and snappy, yet, he omits nothing in his characterizations of the men and women of this police department. What more can the reader ask for?