Okay, technically, neither THE MAN IN THE MOON nor its protagonist, Markham, are exactly new. But they are to me (and, I expect, a number of other readers). You see, this title and this PI originally appeared back in 1980 within the pages of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. Although I've been reading Reasoner for as far back as 1980 (the same year as his cult classic novel, TEXAS WIND) and also checked out MSMM on a fairly regular basis --- yet I had somehow missed this title and others in the series.
Happily, THE MAN IN THE MOON has now been re-issued as a stand-alone 10,000-word novella for Kindle. What's more, other tales featuring Markham are scheduled to be released soon.
On top of all that good news, I'm happy to report that THE MAN IN THE MOON reads as fresh and entertaining as if it were written yesterday. Yes, there are some outdated references but, hey, that just makes it a period piece, right?
Although based out of LA, in this tale Markham is traveling on his way back home through rural Arizona late at night when he encounters two children walking alongside the road. Markham returns them home and a competent-seeming local sheriff takes over from there, assuring the PI that everything will be taken care of. But we all know how things are in those quiet rural towns, right? Nothing is ever as tranquil and tidy as it seems on the outside. And we also know that a loner PI like Markham isn't going to just walk away without satisfying himself that the kids are going to be okay and all of his questions are answered.
You will be very satisfied, too, with the way Reasoner/Markham wraps everything up. This is a good one --- I'm glad I finally got to meet Markham, and I can't wait to read the other stories featuring him.