The Blue Moon Cafe
Rick R. Reed
Review by Jon Michaelsen
I usually listen to audio books (the unabridged versions); via headphones traveling on hours long plane rides or driving long trips alone. So, when a book I had my eye on was released in audio book format, I decided to take a chance to listen while in my car – which proved to quite often as I found myself finding places to go, errands needing done so I could listen to Rick R. Reed’s suspenseful, romantic thriller, The Blue Moon Café.
Taken from the blurb for both print and audio format, “Someone–or something–is killing Seattle’s gay men.” Something moves in the dark night at full moon hunting and killing gay men in the places they gather. The protagonist is Thad Matthews, a young gay man done with relationships and certainly not ready–or even willing–to take yet another dive for his perfect dream that presents in the form of a sexy, super compassionate, masculine, hairy and handsome Caecilian restaurant owner and chef, Sam Lupino.
Reed begins The Blue Moon Café with his signature terror/horror prose he is well-known for delivering, quickly ensnaring the reader–or listener in my case–with heart-racing, pulsating suspense. Vivid detail and full-moon-lit scenery ratchets up anticipation pushing the listener forward, sans trepidation. Reed tempers the heightened elements of the novel with a strong romance that provides a little distraction from the bloody killings.
Thad Matthews is unemployed and without purpose. He is every guy’s friend, the boy-next-door type you’d introduce to mother, a best friend always there to support you, even if having to take a back seat. Along with his domineering Chihuahua, Edith (don’t let the docile name fool you!), Thad fills his days looking for a new job, taking care of his neurotic friend, and pining about lost love. Edith, however, comes to the rescue in more ways than one, quickly proving dogs are excellent judges of character and man’s best friend.
Thad treats himself to a night out, which he can’t afford of course, in hopes of finding someone to spend the night with. Thad dresses to notice and sets out for The Blue Moon Café, where he meets the manly, macho, Sam Lupino.
Not only the owner and chef of The Blue Moon Café, Sam happens to be a werewolf in a family of werewolves. He becomes seduced by Thad’s naive charm, but once drawn to the young man, trouble beings. After a night of hot and heavy love-making, Sam leaves a goodbye note and disappears from Thad’s life. But, not for long as Thad can’t seem to stay away from the mysterious man who tells lies and holds secrets that prey on his insecurities.
I can’t divulge more of the story without ruining the mystery behind the killers, the betraying Thad and Sam both feel at different times throughout their rocky relationship. What I can share, is listening to the audio book version, the voice of narrator Topher Samuels is soothing, calming when he needs to be and ratcheting up the suspense with inflection that makes the reader “feel” as if we’re there, staring down the beast with yellow eyes, or making love to a most compassionate man with a wounded soul.
The Blue Moon Café is a horror/mystery/thriller and gay romance that will pull you in, scare the crap out of you and have you rooting for the unlikely relationship between human and werewolf. Non-traditional in that it strays from the modern-day romantic epics and ends with a surprise that just might break your heart.