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Friday, March 06, 2015

Death Falls by Todd Ritter

Death Falls (previously published as Bad Moon)

Portion of Book Description:  On the same night that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, nine-year-old Charlie Olmstead jumped on his bike to see if he could get a better look. It was the last anyone ever saw of him.

Kat Campbell, police chief of Perry Hollow, and Nick Donnelly, formerly of the State Police and now a cold case private investigator, combine forces once again in this second book in the series.  I haven't read the first one, but the case is referred to on several occasions.

Eric Olmstead, Charlie's younger brother, has hired Nick to find out what happened to Charlie.  The disappearance occurred in 1969--definitely a cold case.  Kat's father was chief of police at the time, and Kat is concerned about some of the discrepancies in the official report.

The Positive:  I did want to find out what happened to Charlie.  When the disappearance of several other boys during other Appollo missions is discovered, the case takes an even more serious turn.  Who would take (and presumably kill) young boys only when someone landed on the moon?

The Negative:  The moon thing.   Although the author coordinated the murders with actual Apollo missions, this connection struck me as...well, looney.  There are two possible suspects that have a "moon connection"--a Vietnam veteran who converted to a religion that worships the moon and a former astronaut, but there are also plenty of other secrets that have been kept by others over the years.  

The most interesting thing to me was the depiction of Centralia, Pennsylvania.  I Googled it and discovered the tragic history of the town.,%20Pennsylvania

I'd never heard of Centralia before, but you can find plenty online to explain and illustrate the tragedy.  

This is one of those crime/mystery books that make you curious about what happened and that misleads you several times.  Mostly, I found it forced.

Read in February.  Blog post scheduled for March 6.


Mystery/Crime.  2011; March 19, 2015.  Print length:  368 pages.


  1. Sorry this mystery wasn't better. Your pictures of Centralia are fascinating, though. I think I'd like to just read a book about this town.

    1. What you can learn even from books that don't especially appeal to you! I found the Centralia information almost unbelievable--it almost sounds like fiction.

  2. Sounds interesting, though I'm not sure about the "moon thing", lol.

    After seeing the pics of Centralia... I just didn't know what to say or think about the tragedy.

    1. I'm glad I read the book just to learn about the Centralia tragedy. I'm so glad I looked it up because it wasn't really all that clear in the book.

  3. I just looked up Centralia--that is an environmental tragedy almost beyond belief. That was one lucky kid who fell in a sink hole but held on to tree roots until rescued. Almost like listening to General Honore at the Camp Minden rally, talking about the uninhabitable towns in south Louisiana, e.g.--Bayou Corne abandoned because of collapse of salt dome ( because of an industrial accident.

    1. Isn't it a shame what we do to the environment? It is sad enough when people don't know better, don't have the science to understand the consequences, but how to explain when they do know.... Thanks for the link, T!

  4. I am not familiar with Centralia either, but, wow. How sad is that? I am sorry the book wasn't better for you. The cold case angle intrigues me and I do love historical ties to real life events. It's too bad this one wasn't better.