Very enjoyable. Started a little slow but it was worth sticking with it. The main character, Moon, is a kind of reluctant hero who's dragged into a rescue mission in Vietnam during the last days of the Vietnam War. Everyone participating in the rescue are amateurs so there's no super spy stuff or violence. If you like mysteries but need a break from some of the violence this is just the thing. I think it would be a great movie.
Tony Hillerman has a way with words! I always feel like I am there, in the four corners area of the desert. He brings it to life and the characters all become people I know by the end of the book. I might add that he keeps me guessing who done it as well. Another wonderful mystery.
This isn't one of the Navajo Tribal Police series with Leaphorn and Chee! I didn't know that when I picked it up in a garage sale, since the title would fit right in. Interesting departure from TONY HILLERMAN'S usual - his "introductory page begins, "To my fellow desert rats, my apologies for wandering away from our beloved Canyon Country." This book appears to draw for background loosely on Hillerman's own experiences in Vietnam with "C Company, 410th Infantry."
Tony Hillerman usually writes about the Southwestern Unites States and the Navahoes and others who live there. This book involves Southeast Asia and it is an excellent read. He writes about the indigenous people who inhabit various countries with sensitivity to their culture and what events history has changed or influenced their lives.
Tony Hillerman strays from his comfort zone with his lead character Moon Mathias going to Southeast Asia to find his missing niece, and in the process discovers alot about himself and what kind of man he is. Very suspenseful, a good read.
Not a Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn novel, but a very exciting suspenseful tale.
From the book:
"One phone call in 1975 changes Moon Mathias's predictable life forever. His dead brother's baby daughter is waiting for him in Southeast Asia - a child Moon didn't know existed.
Moon considers finding her in the aftermath of war a task far beyond his meager talents. He thinks he will prove it's hopeless and fly safely home. Instead, he discovers that the Moon Mathias he encounters in Asia is a better man than he thought he was.
Set in a chilling world of mystery and silence, disguise and deception, 'Finding Moon' is a sharply turned tale of suspense by a uniquely gifted author."
The late Tony Hillerman left his traditional setting of the Navaho reservation, along with his company of players, to examine the last days of the Vietnam War.
In summary, Colorado-based reporter Moon Mathias learns that his mother suffered a heart attack while waiting to board a flight. Compounding the surprise is that his Miami-based mother was in Los Angeles, about to head to Manila aboard Philippine Air. A little investigation revealed that Moon's late brother fathered a child before he passed away in a helicopter crash on the Vietnam / Cambodia border, their mother was going to pick up the child and bring her to America, and that the baby also never made it to the rendezvous in Manila. Searching for the child, Moon also heads to the Philippines, and (I doubt this is much of a spoiler for anyone) into the confusion and violence in the Mekong Delta that was April 1975.)
This was an enjoyable "read" - I quote it because I listened to the audio version and the intersperses of "news releases" from the fall of Vietnam enhanced the story that was being told. BUT I felt I missed a lot because it was an abridged version. Some of the transition between scenes felt sloppy, and I had the feeling that a lot of the material that helped to clear up who Moon Mathias believed he was as a man, and who his brother, mother, and those who encountered him believed him to be, was eliminated by the abridgement editor. (Oh, why did I violate my usual rule of "avoid abridgments"?)
RATING: 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars for those sites that cannot handle fractions of a star. And I believe that the person who performed the abridgment managed to also cut out a half to a whole star from my rating, as well.
Moon Mathias answered the phone to discover that his mother lay in a Los Angeles hospital, fighting for her life - stricken while on route to the Phillapines to bring home a grandchild they hadn't known existed. The papers in her purse send Moon down the backstreets of Manilla, to a rural cockfight, into the odd Filipino prison on Palawan Island, and finally across the South China Seas.
Those he meets on his quest are as strange as Asia itself.