First published in January of 2013, US author Bobby Cole’s novel ‘Moon Underfoot’ formed the sequel to his debut release ‘Dummy Line’ (2008).
It’s been eighteen months since stockbroker Jake Crosby and his daughter, Katy, went through their terrifying ordeal along the Dummy Line in the West Alabama at the hands of a gang of ruthless criminals out for Jake’s blood. After surviving and successfully killing off most of the murderous gang, Jake and his family had since relocated to a supposedly secure neighbourhood within the confines of The Old Waverly Golf Club, nearby to the small town of West Point in Mississippi.
However, whilst forty-year-old Jake is out at a work’s function one evening, his wife, Morgan, is confronted by a man starring at her from amongst the shadows of their back garden. Fearing that the man might break in, Morgan sets the house alarm off and immediately phones the emergency services. But when the local police arrive, there’s no sign of the intruder – other than fresh tracks in the mud and a pile of cigarette butts that have clearly been gathering over the last week or so. It’s enough to get the Crosby’s and the whole neighbourhood deeply concerned. And unfortunately for Jake and his family – the torment is only just beginning.
Meanwhile, sixty-eight-year-old Walter Severson, along with a small number of his very close elderly friends, has just pulled off a $116k theft from the Kroger grocery store where Severson works. Together with his fellow retirees, Bernard Jefferson, Sebastian Snead and Lucille Garrett; Walter plans to set up a foundation that will help those who just need a little money to enable them realise their true potential. But first they need quite a substantial equity behind them. Money that they plan to get from pulling off no-one-gets-hurt thefts like the one they just managed.
Elsewhere in the local vicinity, Ethan ‘Moon Pie’ Daniels is about to undertake his biggest job to date. Working under the notorious Vietnamese criminal, Tam Nguyen, Moon Pie is employed to make the trade-off for a substantial amount of drugs to the Tennessee Mexicans. A transaction that Moon Pie would be taking a good slice of the profits from as long as everything goes smoothly.
However, Moon Pie hasn’t forgotten what Jake Crosby did to him and his good friends. He hasn’t forgotten the promise he made. And ever since fleeing from the area, and then lying low ever since, he’s been harbouring a hatred for Crosby. And now he wants his revenge.
But it all goes wrong when Walter and his small band of retirees break into Moon Pie’s cash-for-gold business, The Gold Mine, and steal more than they bargained for. A whole lot more. Money that could get a lot of people killed. And all of a sudden, it’s just gotten incredibly dangerous for absolutely everyone involved…
Following on from his debut novel ‘Dummy Line’ (2008), the sequel already had a pretty firmly established plot in place – that of Moon Pie’s vengeance on Jake and his family. However, instead of simply working on this one singular idea, author Bobby Cole has instead woven in a magnificently elaborate storyline involving the Robin Hood style retirees as well as a high-stakes drug deal between two organised criminal gangs. Moon Pie is the link between all three simultaneously running plots, with his half-brother, Levi Jenkins, playing a vital role alongside the principal antagonist.
Elaborate really is the word that best describes the book. The inter-woven plots and numerous characters all feed off each other, creating one hell of a gripping read from start to finish. Interestingly, the ‘revenge’ plot is almost put to one side for the vast majority of the tale, and becomes almost a bookending construction to the wildly entertaining drug-running storyline threads that take up the main part of the novel.
There are a good number of incredibly well-developed characters, each with important parts to play in the unfolding storyline. A sub-sub-plot involving twenty-four-year old Bailey Worden and her violent ex-boyfriend, Woody Walker, further adds a strong link between a handful of sections in the tale – as well as bringing in a whole additional (and somewhat heart-warming) element later on in the book.
Having so many characters and so many separate storylines actually works surprisingly well. From the outside it may appear that the book would get too cluttered with so much going on all at once, but somehow, author Bobby Cole has managed to keep the novel tight and remarkably on track. It’s like juggling twenty different shaped and different weighted objects all at the same time, which if performed with a lot of care and control, can make for one hell of an entertaining read. And Cole’s successfully managed it here.
Cole keeps up the pressure and the pulse-racing-thriller excitement from the start to the dramatic and highly emotional finale. Indeed, the finale is delivered so masterfully, that it’s hard not to get completely enwrapped in the devastating drama of the final hundred pages or so. It’s intense, quite surprisingly emotional, and just darn good reading.
Another outstanding achievement for this talented new face in the literary world.
The novel runs for a total of 456 pages.
© DLS Reviews