With Moonlight Avenue, Gerri Hill has created a classic Noir style detective novel, similar in many ways to the old lone wolf detective novels that have become their very own genre. Even though Moonlight Avenue is set in modern day and has a mostly lesbian cast, the feel of the dark, gloomy, evil-lurking-in-the-shadows and fog filled streets atmosphere is the perfect setting for this type of drama filled story. I am actually in awe at the way Ms. Hill uses the descriptions of the setting all through the story. I remember one scene where she describes the fog rolling over the bay and swirling through a broken window into the room. It was vivid enough to send chills down my spine.
There are three main characters in the book, which is unusual, but here it works perfectly. Finley Knight is the main character. She is the lone wolf private investigator with the sad, rather violent past who doesn’t want anyone to be close to her in any way. Her only friend at the beginning of the story is Sammy, the elderly gentleman who lives in the apartment above her office which is located in an old warehouse building on a dark dead end street called Moonlight Avenue. Then you Have Dee Woodard, the police detective with her own distressing past who becomes friends with Finn as they both try to solve the murder mystery they become involved in. The third main character is Rylee Moore, who shows up looking for a job and refusing to take no for an answer until Finn finally hires her, not as the apprentice as Rylee wants, but as her receptionist.
This is predominantly a murder mystery from Bella Books, but for those of you looking for romance, there is an undercurrent running through the book. The love interest reads like a smoldering fire through most of the story. You will occasionally see a little spark or feel a bit of the heat of the fire, but it doesn’t burst into a blaze until near the end of the tale. It is most definitely a slow-burn romance, but well worth reading to the end.
Instead of reading the ebook or paperback version, I listened to the Audible version of this book, narrated by Cassandra York. I believe that listening to this story first may have influenced how I view the book itself. The Audible version reminded me of the old Sam Spade/ Philip Marlow stories that used to be performed on the radio shows of the thirties and forties. And no, I don’t remember them directly. I’m not quite that old. I must commend the narrator for her rendition of the book, as well as Ms. Hill for her excellent writing.
The wonderfully dark setting, well-developed characters, and exceptionally well written story make this book one of the best I’ve read/listened to in quite a while. Don’t let this one pass you by.