Todd Ritter introduced Perry Hollow Police Chief Kat Campbell and Lieutenant Nick Donnelly from the Pennsylvania State Police in his debut thriller, Death Notice. Now, in Bad Moon, Nick investigates cold cases for his family foundation. His life has changed. What hasn’t changed is that Kat and Nick still make a powerful investigative team. And, Bad Moon, the story of their latest case, is one of the best books I’ve read this year.
On July 20, 1969, the night Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, ten-year-old Charlie Olmstead disappeared. Kat’s father, the police chief of Perry Hollow at the time, and the townspeople, concluded he rode his bike to Sunset Falls to see the moon, and fell to his death. But, Charlie’s mother, Maggie, never accepted that. And, when she died forty-two years later, she left her son Eric with one request. Find your brother.
When Eric Olmstead, a bestselling mystery author, hired Nick Donnelly to find out what happened to his brother, Nick enlisted Kat’s help. But, no one, not Kat, nor Nick, nor Eric, expected to find what Maggie left behind. She left behind news stories that indicated Charlie Olmstead might not have been the only young boy to mysteriously disappear in Pennsylvania in the late sixties and early seventies. For forty-two years, someone on a small cul-de-sac in Perry Hollow may have harbored secrets about Charlie Olmstead’s disappearance. It’s a secret that haunted the street for decades. Now three investigators face the consequences of those secrets.
A year ago, I praised Todd Ritter’s character development, with interesting relationships and the complications of a police chief, a working mother with a special needs child. I can’t praise him enough for his characters, and the juxtaposition of the stories of two young boys. Ritter’s characters are realistic, with all the complexity of human nature.
Once again, Ritter has created an intricate, riveting story with twists that will challenge most readers. Don’t feel as if you have to go back and read Death Notice. Bad Moon is a gripping story, complete in itself. And, anyone who thinks all thrillers or mysteries are the same, needs to try this book. Bad Moon will be on my list of the best mysteries of 2011.
Todd Ritter’s website is www.toddritteronline.com
Bad Moon by Todd Ritter. St. Martin’s Minotaur. ©2011. ISBN 9780312622817 (hardcover), 358p.