Title: Bad Moon
Author: Todd Ritter
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Kat Campbell is still the police chief of Perry Hollow, and things have been quiet since the events of Death Notice. That is, until Kat’s former sweetheart, Eric Olmstead, returns to town. Eric’s brother Charlie disappeared the night of the first moon landing, and though the police believed there was an accident and Charlie’s body was washed away in the creek, Eric’s mother thought differently. It’s up to Kat and Eric to discover what really happened to Charlie that fateful night.
There’s one problems with series novels set in a small town. After the first shocking, twisted set of murders, it kind of seems like old news when the second novel hits. How can the characters claim that events like that don’t happen in their town when they just happened in the first book? What’s more, how realistic is it that two different, unrelated killers (usually serial killers) will target the same small town and kill people in an extremely gruesome way? These issues are always at the back of my mind when reading crime fiction series, and they are why I absolutely loved Bad Moon.
Bad Moon is set in the same small town as Death Notice, but it’s a completely different book. A sadistic serial killer isn’t once again stalking the town; instead, Kat must investigate a decades-old incident. The mystery is incredibly well-written and engaging. Of course, I absolutely loved the tie to the moon landing; it gave the novel a creativity and depth readers will appreciate. I loved that, with Bad Moon, Todd Ritter has proven he is a force in the crime fiction genre who doesn’t need to rely on graphic crime scene descriptions in order to keep readers hooked.
I also loved the way this novel unfolded. What seems like a simple accident at the beginning turns into so much more as Bad Moon progresses. Ritter has written a complex and psychologically twisted novel that readers will revel in. There are so many disparate threads to this novel, and Ritter weaves them into a tight narrative, bringing everything together at the end so beautifully. I was very impressed with this novel at the same time I found it completely gripping.
It’s not necessary to read Death Notice prior to reading Bad Moon; each can stand on its own. It was wonderful to revisit with Kat again, though, and get more of a glimpse into her home life. Readers will really sympathize with Kat; she is a single mom who works very hard at her job, but is devoted to her son with Down syndrome. She’s not exactly the typical main character for this type of book; she doesn’t drown her frustrations in booze or live dangerously. Instead, she pours her heart and soul into her son. It’s refreshing and wonderful to see.
Bad Moon was a well-written and atmospheric novel that I highly recommend to fans of crime fiction. Todd Ritter is a very talented author, and I so appreciate how different this book is from the first. I hope Ritter continues writing about Kat, as she’s an endearing main character, and can’t wait to see what crime she has on her hands next.