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A Mourning in Autumn    by Harker Moore order for
Mourning in Autumn
by Harker Moore
Order:  USA  Can
Mysterious Press, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I enjoyed Harker Moore's debut in A Cruel Season for Dying for its unique protagonists, strong suspense, and the Japanese culture tied in through its hero, NYPD Detective Jimmy Sakura and his talented, blind, psychic wife Hanae. The ending of that story left all four main characters damaged by too close encounters with the serial killer - Hanae fled back to Kyoto leaving Jimmy bereft. The burgeoning romance between his partner Michael Darius and profiler Willie French was also interrupted by injury and shock.

As this second chiller opens, we see both couples gradually resuming their relationships, with Hanae pushing hard for a stronger role in her husband's life and cases, wanting to help with her gift of 'walking the lands of the dead'. Of course, a new serial killer quickly takes center stage, one who eviscerates his female victims, and wraps them in plastic. The killer's horrific 'Left-brain', 'Right-brain' musings are shared with the reader. The author shows us various disturbed characters, leaving us to wonder which, if any, is the killer. There's a perfectionist of an architect hired by the husband of Michael's ex-wife Margot. There's 'Pumpkin Man', who seems to take an unhealthy interest in Margot's and Michael's twin boys, Jason and Damon. There's Victor Abbott, with his obsession for celebrity reporter Zoe Kahn, and there's a repulsive Rave deejay, 'the Shaman'.

As bodies are found in dumpsters and landfills, the clock's ticking fast and Jimmy's under pressure to find the killer. He's disturbed by Hanae's appearance at the scenes of the crimes - what is she trying to achieve? Her role is only partially developed in this episode, which I found frustrating - I assume there's more to come. Otherwise, it's a compelling read, ending in a race against time to save potential victims who are close to the main characters. And the identity of the serial killer is a big surprise. Though I preferred the first in this series, I read A Mourning in Autumn nonstop, and look forward to more of Jimmy, Hanae, Michael and Willie.

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