MysteryPeople May Pick Of The Month: The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman
It’s rare for an author to finish with their series character. Usually, an author’s life ends before the adventures of their creation come to a conclusion. With The Hollow Girl, however, Reed Farrel Coleman actually puts his acclaimed private eye character, Moe Prager, to bed. Suffice to say, our hero leaves the stage as elegantly as he entered it.
In Hurt Machine, Moe was in a pretty good place, connecting with his daughter, Katy, and with a new love in his life, Pam. Apparently, Coleman wasn’t done with him. After Pam is killed in a car accident, Moe ends up drunk, jeopardizing his fragile relationship with Kay by saying one of the most heinous things he has ever uttered.
To get away from drinking, Moe relents and takes on a case. He’s then hired by Nancy Lustig, who he first met in the debut novel, Walking The Perfect Square. Back then, she was a homely girl, whom he felt an attraction to. When he met her again in Empty Ever After, Nancy had undergone plastic surgery and hit the gym. It was as if the inner beauty traded for the outer, leaving Nancy as a bitter woman.
Now, Nancy’s estranged daughter has gone missing. Almost two decades ago, the same daughter was one of the first Internet sensations, known as The Hollow Girl, though she ended her fifteen minutes of fame with a controversial fake suicide. With help from friends and allies from previous cases, Moe searches through the New York acting community and the girl’s old friends for more information. It isn’t long before new Hollow Girl posts appear on the Internet, which indicate that she’s possibly being tortured.
Identity plays a large part in this story. There are characters with fake names. There are pasts which have been changed or erased. This theme is epitomized by the reconnection of Moe and Nancy, two people lost to who they were and are, leaving us to question the hollow part that is in all of us. It’s a somewhat ironic end for a character who is often defined by his lack of definition, but it’s Moe’s first few steps toward his own identity that make it a pitch perfect note to finish on.
The Hollow Girl ends the Moe Prager series as an ellipsis rather than an exclamation point. It’s perfect for a character who reflects us in so many ways. There is no loud or fond farewell. Hurt Machine may have given us a glimpse of the ending we wanted, but it is in The Hollow Girl that Moe gets the ending he needed.
Copies of The Hollow Girl by Reed Farrel Coleman are available on our shelves at BookPeople and via bookpeople.com