|Ralph Moon & Scott Doyle
(creator: D G Isch)
|Ralph Moon had been a sergeant in the Marines "who stood about six feet four inches". As 12-year-old Scott puts it, "Boy, was he big, but real nice-looking, considering he was about four stories taller than I was." He had served with distinction in the South Pacific and it was while he was away that his wife and daughter had been tragically killed in a car crash. He then "spent a lot of time recuperating in bars and being a bouncer from time to time" before being converted by an evangelist who "helped him to come to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior".
He rejoined the Marines, and ended up in Korea for the next two years. He served in the military police and had won " a chest full of medals". He had been described by his former Marine commander as having "the instincts of a predator, the sixth sense of a clairvoyant, and the patience of Job. If it were not for his humility, he would be impossible to live with." At the start of this story, he feels that God is calling him "to be a cop or a preacher".
Scott Doyle is twelve years old at the start of the book but soon has his thirteenth birthday. He narrates part of the story, which is full of his admiration for the stalwart "Sarge" Moon. Like the author, he loves growing up in the Arizona desert. He has an older brother and a younger sister and a much loved German shepherd dog called Scout, whom he describes as his "best friend". His father works at an air force base as a civilian welder. It was there that he had met Sergeant Moon who had been Scout's trainer.
D G Isch (date of birth?) was born and raised in the Arizona desert. He became a Kung Fu teacher then head instructor of the American Kung Fu Association. He was also a businessman, a bodyguard, private investigator and undercover agent. After retiring to Albaquerqe, he rededicated his life to Christ, and, after ten years of street ministry and running successful drug and alcohol programs at local churches, turned to writing Christ-centered novels and poems. He now lives with his wife Diane and their two dogs in Silver City, New Mexico. He also wrote Archie and the Preacher.
Meanwhile Moon is convinced that he has a calling to join the police, and it is not long before he has met the pretty bar-maid Danielle, and is soon setting about converting her too. Of course, "They both, with great restraint, agreed not to enter into any intimacy until marriage", even if she was "somewhat disappointed".
We are told that "Danielle Lacy was a bright, intelligent woman. having received a degree in Business from North Arizona Unibersity. She knew when to submit to proper leadership, and it was obvious to her that Detective Ralph Moon was in the lead."
Later on, thirteen-year-old Scott smugly instructs Danielle, "Pray, and ask Jesus to show you the truth .... Of course, you have to make a choice to do what you are shown. Jesus is a gentleman, and will never make you do anything you don't want to ..."
It is Danielle's own father who gets accused of committing a murder - and, despite the obvious conflict of interest (that Moon points out), he is still put in charge of the murder investigation. Amazingly, he involves young Scott in his detective work (even teaching him how to use his gun), and finds the boy shows a quick understanding and is even able to spot things that Moon had missed.
The book starts with a few short chapters, followed by an incredibly long one (all the way from pages 24-260). This makes it quite difficult to read, especially as the flow is broken up by little doggerel maxims such as: "Morning is a gift of its own. With it come mysteries to be known", "Worry is a problem God never intended for man" and "Babies cry when distraught, Adolescents scream when caught, Adults just lie for aught."
And the author's prose style can get strangely convoluted as when he writes: "The sergeant understood that there were always going to be undesirable attitudes in this world. He had been around the world and fought wars all around the world for the freedom of expression and the right to say what one wishes to say. He just wished it wasn't with such insignificance born out of liquor and the need to find approval from one's peers."
Another example is when Danielle is wondering whether to turn to another policeman, Deputy Dunn, for help: "Another negative side to asking for Lawson Dunn's help was his return to looking at her as a possible love interest, and not giving up on his futile hope that he could one day make her his wife. These were the very things Danielle was hoping to not create for herself before the sergeant's return. The realisation that she had inadvertently once more fanned this flame in Deputy Dunn irked her." It all sounds rather clumsy.
It is a little confusing too how young Scott relates part of the story and an impersonal third person narrator keeps suddenly taking over from him. But Moon himself emerges as a very observant and capable detective, who, as he tells Danielle, is absolutely convinced that "When we commit our lives to God three things will happen: First, God will work in us. Second, God will work through us. Third, God will work for us." But he relies on lengthy and rather tedious interviews in his detective workl, and the attempted hard-sell of the Gospel message is doubtless well-meaning but none too persuasive. As a detective, we are told, "Moon never sympathized with felons. He only put them away". More love in action, and less talk about it, might have made him a more attractive character. As it is, the book lacks enough action/ excitement/humor to hold the reader's interest.
|This is described as "A Christian Detective Novel" and is one of those books that is printed to order.|