March 11, 2006
Shoot the Moon
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
Rating: A (9/10 Terrific!)
It’s been several years since I’ve read anything by Billie Letts. When Shoot the Moon was published in July 2004, I was quite anxious to read it. I loved her earlier books (Where the Heart Is and The Honk and Holler Opening Soon) and had a good feeling about this new release. I added the title to my Amazon wish list and planned to read it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of reading a few negative reviews about the book and decided to pass on it – at least for the time being. I actually checked it out from the library a couple of times, returning it unread, uninspired to even give it a try. Maybe things worked out for the best; waiting for the right moment and not having high expectations, as I have for other favorite authors’ works. Shoot the Moon is a fantastic book and I was pleasantly surprised. Billie Letts is a great storyteller.
On January 30, 1972, Gaylene Harjo is murdered and her ten-month-old son, Nicky Jack disappears, assumed to have been killed as well. Now, almost thirty years later, a stranger arrives in De Clare, Oklahoma seeking answers to the recent discovery of his adoption in late 1972. Letts doesn’t rely on flashbacks to move her story along, but the inclusion of Gaylene’s diary, interspersed between sections of the narrative, helps fill in gaps while creating suspense and intrigue. As the details of Mark Albright’s story unravel, this compelling mystery reaches a climatic finale, forcing this reader to stay up far too late in the night, anxious to see how it would all play out. Just when I started to think the plot was too predictable, Letts surprised me with a shocking twist.
I haven’t heard of any upcoming releases by Billie Letts, but you can be sure that when I do, I won’t let any negative reviews influence my decision this time. But until then, I may just have to give The Honk and Holler Opening Soon another read. It’s my favorite of the three and it’s been six years to the month since I first read it.