The Blue Moon Cafe
by Rick Reed
The Blue Moon Café is a suspense/thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Thad Matthews is unemployed and single. Handsome, young, a writer, and gay, he is a dreamy chunk of red-hair and fair skin. Enter Sam Lupino, the chef of the new restaurant that opened near Thad’s apartment. From first sight, something about Sam draws him in. It could be his dark, Italian, masculine appearance, or his enormous phallus, or his sweet and tender loving nature…probably all of the above. But whatever the draw, Thad falls in love, and hard.
At the same time that Sam and his family arrive, Seattle’s gay area, the Capitol Hill district, begins to experience violent murders which appear to target the gay population. And these aren’t just murders. Victims are torn to shreds, barely recognizable.
When Sam suddenly disappears during a weekend of a full moon, Thad becomes suspicious that he may be seeing someone on the side. Fearing the worst, he confronts Sam who refuses to tell him the whole story. When Sam is caught in a lie, Thad takes a break from him, only to realize his worst fears didn’t come close to the truth.
I couldn’t put the book down as the story barreled from one scene to the next heading towards the conclusion, desperate to know how everything would work out in the end.
When I first started reading the book, I assumed it was a romance. Boy is sexy. Boy meet’s sexy Mediterranean man. Sexy Italian has large member and knows how to use it well…and so on. But this story also contained a dark underbelly. As the murders occurred, Rick Reed shifted into the perspective of the murderer, allowing the reader to lurk inside the killer’s head and to experience it first-hand.
The story moved from one suspenseful moment to the next naturally and with precision, yet Mr. Reed never gave too much, or threw any wrenches which can piss you off when reading a suspense/thriller. He remained true to the story line and provided plausible information which, in the end, came together beautifully.
On top of nail-biting, page-turning angst, I also felt the emotional pull of each character. None more so that Thad, our main character, who’s struggle with his life, his love, his friend, and a very difficult decision are portrayed realistically and with sensitivity. As we journey with Thad, we experience the full range of feelings from elation to despair, from fear to ultimate courage.
What I particularly liked about this book, was it didn’t, in the end, confine itself to the standard of romance writing. In fact, I’m not entirely sure that it really is a romance novel as much as it is a dark, suspenseful thriller with romantic elements.
Mr. Reed has delivered a book which forces the reader to examine what he or she would do in Thad’s situation – a dilemma, which aside from the dramatic flair of his particular circumstances, we have all had to deal with at one point or another. For who hasn’t faced the question of whether to follow one’s heart or one’s head?
Overall, this book was crafted with tenderness and expertise. A delightful read and one I certainly recommend. I can see why Mr. Reed has been dubbed the Stephen King of gay horror.