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Finding Moon

Cover of Finding Moon

Finding Moon

Tony Hillerman's bestselling Navajo mysteries have thrilled millions of readers with their taut, intricate plotting, sensitive, subtle characterizations and lyrical evocations of landscapes and cultures. Now he departs his trademark terrain and applies his talents to a story he has wanted to tell for decades about an ordinary man thrust into total chaos.

Until the telephone call came for him on April 12, 1975, the world of Moon Mathias had settled into a predictable routine. He knew who he was. He was the disappointing son of Victoria Mathias, the brother of the brilliant, recently dead Ricky Mathias and a man who could be counted on to solve small problems. But the telephone caller was an airport security officer, and the news he delivered handed Moon a problem as large as Southeast Asia.

His mother, who should be in her Florida apartment, is fighting for her life in a Los Angeles hospital — stricken while en route to the Philippines to bring home a grandchild they hadn't known existed. The papers in her purse send Moon into a world totally strange to him. They lure him down the back streets of Manila, to a rural cockfight, into the odd Filipino prison on Palawan Island and finally across the South China Sea to where Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge is turning Cambodia into killing fields and Communist rockets are beginning to fall on the outskirts of Saigon.

Finding Moon is many things: a latter-day adventure epic, a deftly orchestrated romance, an arresting portrait of an exotic realm engulfed in turmoil, and a neatly turned tale of suspense. Most of all, it is a singular story of how a plain, uncertain man finds his best self.

Tony Hillerman's bestselling Navajo mysteries have thrilled millions of readers with their taut, intricate plotting, sensitive, subtle characterizations and lyrical evocations of landscapes and cultures. Now he departs his trademark terrain and applies his talents to a story he has wanted to tell for decades about an ordinary man thrust into total chaos.

Until the telephone call came for him on April 12, 1975, the world of Moon Mathias had settled into a predictable routine. He knew who he was. He was the disappointing son of Victoria Mathias, the brother of the brilliant, recently dead Ricky Mathias and a man who could be counted on to solve small problems. But the telephone caller was an airport security officer, and the news he delivered handed Moon a problem as large as Southeast Asia.

His mother, who should be in her Florida apartment, is fighting for her life in a Los Angeles hospital — stricken while en route to the Philippines to bring home a grandchild they hadn't known existed. The papers in her purse send Moon into a world totally strange to him. They lure him down the back streets of Manila, to a rural cockfight, into the odd Filipino prison on Palawan Island and finally across the South China Sea to where Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge is turning Cambodia into killing fields and Communist rockets are beginning to fall on the outskirts of Saigon.

Finding Moon is many things: a latter-day adventure epic, a deftly orchestrated romance, an arresting portrait of an exotic realm engulfed in turmoil, and a neatly turned tale of suspense. Most of all, it is a singular story of how a plain, uncertain man finds his best self.

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About the Author-
  • Tony Hillerman (1925–2008), an Albuquerque, New Mexico, resident since 1963, was the author of 29 books, including the popular 18-book mystery series featuring Navajo police officers Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, two non-series novels, two children's books, and nonfiction works. He had received every major honor for mystery fiction; awards ranging from the Navajo Tribal Council's commendation to France 's esteemed Grand prix de litterature policiere. Western Writers of America honored him with the Wister Award for Lifetime achievement in 2008. He served as president of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America, and was honored with that group's Edgar Award and as one of mystery fiction's Grand Masters. In 2001, his memoir, Seldom Disappointed, won both the Anthony and Agatha Awards for best nonfiction.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 4, 1995
    Location figures powerfully in Hillerman's newest novel, but it isn't the Southwest of his Navajo mysteries (Sacred Clowns, etc.), nor is this a Joe Leaphorn story. In April 1975, Moon Mathias, managing editor of a small-town Colorado newspaper, begins a redemptive journey that takes him first to Manila and then across the South China Sea to Cambodia, just as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge begin their reign of terror. Moon's brother Ricky, owner of a helicopter transportation service based in Cambodia, has recently died in a jungle crash. Their mother receives word that Ricky's baby daughter is being smuggled out of Vietnam to the Philippines. After his mother has a heart attack in the Manila airport, Moon takes over her mission, but the child does not arrive. Finding and contacting Ricky's acquaintances, Moon fights time, political exigencies and his ignorance of his brother's life as he tries doggedly to locate his niece. The effort involves an appealing cast, including a wealthy Chinese man seeking his ancestors' bones, a Dutch woman searching for her missionary brother and Vietnamese refugees, who join Moon on a suspenseful, albeit not quite credible, journey to a series of villages along the Mekong River. In the end, as the title suggests, Moon finds more than he'd known was lost. Hillerman's mastery of setting and his compassionate, patient characterization are fully present in this tale, which is otherwise somewhat formulaic. 350,000 first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; HarperAudio.

  • AudioFile Magazine This production wonderfully enhances Hillerman's tale of adventure and intrigue in Southeast Asia. The abridgment is subtle and restrained, removing only a minor subplot. A versatile actor, Sanders speaks with a cool, journalistic style appropriate to the character of narrator "Moon" Mathias. The newspaper articles, dispatches and news flashes that introduce each chapter place the story of Moon's search for his dead brother's missing daughter within the context of the last days of the Vietnam War. Voices for different characters are varied without being forced or clichÄd, even when Asian and female characters are portrayed. Appropriate music introduces and concludes each side. J.L. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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