A Fearsome Moonlight Black by David Putnam is a very highly recommended police procedural set in two timelines, 1979 and 1988, and presented in two parts.
In 1979 Dave Beckett is a 21 year-old rookie on probation with a
police department in West Valley, a small town in Southern
California. Dave tries his best to do a good job and is proud to be a cop, but then he get several of the toughest cases
in the department. He also reconnects with Beth, a woman that he
had a crush on in high school. During the last case in the 1979 time period, he is attacked and the
timeline jumps forward to part two of the book set in 1988. Now
Dave is a homicide detective in the San
Bernardino County Sheriff’s department. His
marriage to Beth is in jeopardy and he has a
five-year-old-daughter. He also understands now that everything
isn't always cut and dried and that those thought to be the good
guys aren't always good. Dave ends up going back in time when he
was a rookie and taking a closer look at some of the cases he had.
Dave is a realistically portrayed character and there is
definitely growth in his character simply due to time. The writing is very good as Putnam follows multiple complicated
cases in an intricate plot that has an authenticity that will hold your
attention throughout the novel. This is a gritty look behind the public
Book one is an even paced look at the life of a rookie cop while book two becomes a much more intense and complex investigation undertaken by a more seasoned investigator. Book one is interesting but book two is much more compelling due to Dave's experience and insight. Apparently book one is closer to the real life experiences of author David Putnam while book two is fiction. Putnam does a good job depicting the life of a law enforcement officer while presenting an investigation that enters thriller territory in the second part. There is a satisfying conclusion to the narrative.