Shoot the Moon
Billie Letts
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Shoot the Moon

Billie Letts
Warner Books
352 pages
July 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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In 1972, Gaylene Harjo was brutally murdered and her ten-month-old son Nicky Jack disappeared. The small town of DeClare, Oklahoma, was consumed by the tragic events for months, but the murder was never satisfactorily solved and Nicky Jack was never found.

Thirty years later, a mysterious man shows up in DeClare and asks for the whereabouts of Gaylene. This man, Mark Albright, a Beverly Hills veterinarian, just discovered that he was adopted and has come in search of the mother listed on his birth certificate. The townsfolk are sent into a tailspin at the news that Nicky Jack has returned from the grave. Although he can't talk to his mother, Mark wants to figure out how he came to be adopted in California, and most of all wants to learn who killed her and why. But someone in town doesn't want Mark snooping around in business they have tried too long to keep buried. Will he find all he is searching for? Will he be able to handle the truth?

Shoot the Moon is another engrossing novel from author Billie Letts. The novel is full of vibrant, well-defined characters who fit in perfectly with the setting. Mark is on a journey which leads him to discover a life and a family he never knew existed, but one which intrigues him enough to want to find out more about them. The mystery is fascinating and not easily figured out by the reader, and isn't truly resolved until the last chapter.

Letts has a gift for writing varied types of books, yet always brings the characters to the forefront of the story. The quick pace keeps the plot rapidly moving forward to an exciting and unexpected conclusion. The one reason I did not give this book five stars is that Letts allows her politics and beliefs to overshadow the main storyline. Her avid anti-adoption stance seemed totally out of place in the novel and (without giving spoilers here) the same conclusion could have been reached without the negativity toward adoption.

All that aside, Shoot the Moon is a not-to-be-missed novel. Richly portrayed settings and characters coupled with a captivating mystery creates a winning combination sure to please readers of all genres.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Melissa Parcel, 2004

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