Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reed Farrel Coleman


With the knowledge that my Moe Prager series was coming to an end with this month’s release of The Hollow Girl, the ninth installment in the series, people have asked me if I will miss Moe. The answer is simple: I don’t know. We haven’t been apart long enough. What I can say is that I don’t miss him yet. Moe and I have spent fifteen years together, about half as much time as my wife and I have been married. That’s a mighty long time to have someone else living in your head. It’s both frightening and wonderful to think about, but I have probably expended more thought, energy, and effort on the fictional Moe Prager than I have on any living human beings other than my wife and two kids. Moe and I have had a wonderful partnership, but not all partnerships last forever. Sometimes, when you try to push partnerships past their logical shelf life, they turn toxic. I wasn’t going to do that with Moe.

 Moe has been wonderful to me. He has given me a vehicle through which to express my views on religion, politics, morality, sports, corruption, hypocrisy, music, love and friendship, truth and lies, romance and sex. Moe has allowed me to paint vivid, if somewhat distorted, pictures of the world I grew up in, of my little corner of Brooklyn, NY. I haven’t physically lived in Brooklyn since 1983, but Moe has allowed me to linger in the Brooklyn I loved and hated, the Brooklyn I left behind but that has never left me behind. It is surely a Brooklyn of the mind. My mind. Moe’s mind. It’s very odd for me now that my daughter Kaitlin lives in Brooklyn. But it’s not my Brooklyn. There was nothing hip or cutting edge about my Brooklyn. To paraphrase something  I wrote in one of the Moe books, my Brooklyn was always the poor relation, the girl in last year’s dress. I never thought I would live to see the day that Parisians would say something was tres Brooklyn as an expression of coolness.

I’ve also been asked what gave me the idea to end the series now. That answer is simple. I never envisioned this as an open-ended series. That’s why I aged Moe throughout. I built the end of the series into its initial conception. Though each book was written organically—I never had a series arc in mind when I wrote Walking the Perfect Square—I knew that I would eventually run out of things to say through Moe. And let’s be real, 65 may be the new 55, but Moe had been through a lot. I could no longer accept a 65 year old man who had just survived a near fatal bout with stomach cancer as a tough guy, hard-boiled PI. And if I couldn’t accept it, how could I expect my readers to accept it. No, when I was writing Hurt Machine, the seventh installment in the series, I was already planning to wrap things up.

It’s my hope that as I move on with my career that readers who have never heard of Moe or readers who have heard of the series, but for some reason have never picked up one of the books, find the time to read the series. I hope people realize that although I won’t be writing anymore Moe books, I will never really leave Moe behind. How could I? Whatever success I have achieved has been largely due to our partnership. Thanks to all of you for your loyal support. I can’t possibly express how much it’s meant to me … I mean, us. 



Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Welcome Back, Reed! Always a delight having you here.

I will miss Moe. But I think I'm finished with being mad at you.

Now I'm looking forward to all the new things you have coming up in the future.

And in case I haven't mentioned it lately - I am so, so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

Reed, this is very touching. Makes one feel like a friend is passing to another world... look forward to your next major pal. Thelma in Manhattan

Libby Dodd said...

I'm forwarding this to two friends who are former New Yorkers. I think they will really enjoy it.

Peg Brantley said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one.

At the moment I'm reading another "last in a series" book and have to admit I'm a little disappointed. Pretty sure yours will be different, Reed, and I can learn how to do it right.

John Bohnert said...

I love the seven Moe Prager books that I've read so far. I just ordered ONION STREET(#8)and THE HOLLOW GIRL (#9). Thank you so much for giving me many hours of pure reading pleasure. These books are part of my home library.