Select one of the keywords
Holy Moly    by Ben Rehder order for
Holy Moly
by Ben Rehder
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When Holy Moly opens, a thirty-year-old Texan named Hollis Farley has just purchased a sixty-inch plasma television, even though he can't afford it, and that glorious acquisition - as innocent as it would seem - is actually the beginning of Farley's problems.

While watching his new television, Farley first discovers the television evangelist Peter Boothe, a 'sort of a cross between Mr. Rogers and a used-car salesman', whose prosperity gospel has intrigued countless souls; then later, while operating a backhoe at the construction site for Boothe's multi-million-dollar new church on the banks of the Pedernales River, Farley stumbles upon a controversial discovery that causes more than a few jaws to drop; then, shortly after his discovery and making everything even worse, Farley gets himself killed.

The law enforcement officials investigate Farley's death, but rather than having too few clues to work with they instead have an alarming abundance of persons of interest and likely suspects. The questionable characters include an aging environmentalist, an unpleasant college professor, a singular collector of fossils, a minister's seductive wife, and others in a long-list of eccentric Blanco County personalities.

Quick, witty, and full of surprises, Holy Moly rapidly evolves into a fun-filled cautionary tale about avarice, deceit, betrayal, and - of course - murder. If Jonathan Swift had been strapped into a time machine and transported to Texas, and if he had tried his hand at writing no-holds-barred mystery fiction, Holy Moly would have been typical of his output.

With social satire that is a sharp as a hungry coyote's teeth and an overall narrative style that is as darkly entertaining as an armadillo's against-all-the-odds attempts to safely cross a west Texas interstate highway, Holy Moly proves that Edgar Award finalist Ben Rehder, the author of five previous novels, is a darn good writer who knows how to tell a great story, and - at the same time, with his tongue-not-so-firmly-in-his-cheek - he is able to sagaciously gore plenty of American society's sacred cows (especially religion, science, law enforcement, and all the befuddling weaknesses human beings so readily fall prey to in their everyday lives).

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews