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Reviews of Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman

Carolina Moonset

by Matt Goldman

Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman X
Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman
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  • First Published:
    May 2022, 272 pages

    Paperback:
    May 2022, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

Both suspenseful and deeply moving, Carolina Moonset is an engrossing novel about family, memories both golden and terrible, and secrets too dangerous to stay hidden forever, from New York Times bestselling and Emmy Award–winning author, Matt Goldman.

Joey Green has returned to Beaufort, South Carolina, with its palmettos and shrimp boats, to look after his ailing father, who is succumbing to dementia, while his overstressed mother takes a break. Marshall Green's short-term memory has all but evaporated, but, as if in compensation, his oldest memories are more vivid than ever. His mind keeps slipping backwards in time, retreating into long-ago yesterdays of growing up in Beaufort as a boy.

At first this seems like a blessing of sorts, with the past providing a refuge from a shrinking future, but Joey grows increasingly anxious as his father's hallucinatory arguments with figures from his youth begin to hint at deadly secrets, scandals, and suspicions long buried and forgotten. Resurfacing from decades past are mysteries that still have the power to shatter lives―and change everything Joey thought he knew.

Especially when a new murder brings the police to his door...

Simultaneous release in hardcover and paperback.

1

When I saw my first palm tree, I almost died of disappointment. It wasn't on a tiny island. It didn't have coconuts under its fronds or monkeys clinging to its trunk. That palm tree failed me.

The tree lived in Beaufort, South Carolina, in my grandparents' backyard, and the letdown I felt over its lack of picture-book clichés is my earliest memory of that place. I must have been three or four. It was the same trip I met the ocean at Hunting Island State Park. I waded into the salt water. Tasted it on my fingers. Scanned the surface for sharks. Thought every dolphin and hunk of driftwood was a shark, which sent me screaming and splashing back to the beach.

I spent languid afternoons with my sisters catching chameleons. We put the lizards in a box and named them. Took the box inside to show the adults. And under strict and often shrieked orders, carried the box back outside to let the creatures go. The chameleons turned brown on the palm tree's trunk or green if set on a leaf. ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
  1. At the center of Carolina Moonset are multiple murder mysteries. Who did you originally think the perpetrators were, and what did you think their motives were?
  2. What makes Joey and Leela so compatible? What enables them to bring out the best in each other? What distinctions did you notice in their personalities and family histories?
  3. What is the effect of seeing the storyline through Joey's eyes? How might the perceptions have been different if Leela or Ruby had narrated this tale?
  4. How did your perceptions of Thomas and Gail Hammond shift when more of their past was revealed? Is money the root of their power, or is power the root of their wealth? How does Trip Patterson's fate illustrate the class divisions within their community? ...
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Here are some of the comments posted about Carolina Moonset.
You can see the full discussion here.


At the center of the story are multiple murder mysteries. Who did you originally think the perpetrators were and why?
The multiple murder mysteries were what first attracted my interest in this book. However, I found the characters to be as interesting as the plot! As to whodunnit, I can’t believe that I didn’t think about one of The South&... - NCjeanne

Did your perceptions of Thomas and Gail shift? Is money the root of their power, or is power the root of their wealth? How does Trip Patterson's fate illustrate the class divisions within their community?
The only change in perception is how Gail could have been so stupid to 'fess up everything in the end. Very contrived, I'm afraid. Thomas seemed OK, an ineffectual rich good 'ol boy who had a sorry excuse for a brother. I too would ... - reedr

Do you feel Joey's reactions to divorce are common?
Yes, Joey's reactions are typical of an amicable breakup. I think many men learn how to accept change and spend quality time with their children after a divorce. There is no mother around to take over the childcare. Joey felt he had more time to... - kmillerarndt

Do you think it's true that we care less about others' opinions as we age?
For sure. As a teenager we are usually so worried about the opinions of our peers. As we age we become more self confident and able to more easily ignore what others think. - LindaMonaco

Do you think Marshall's legacy as a healer extended beyond his work as a physician?
The fact that Marshall, a doctor, ran a free clinic speaks for itself. He was not in his career only for money - but because he cared about people. People liked him for himself and were glad to be around him. He treated all people as equals - money ... - kmillerarndt

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Goldman balances the various threads skillfully; all of them are equally enthralling and beautifully interwoven, so much so that I found the mystery itself a less interesting aspect, almost an afterthought in this superbly wrought family drama. Those looking for a taut murder mystery may find it a bit of a letdown, but readers interested in a high-quality novel about aging and the complexities of middle age will definitely appreciate it...continued

Full Review (675 words)

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(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] first-class mystery...The often amusing dialogue flows naturally, the emotional undercurrents ring true, and the mystery itself offers a full complement of suspects and motives. This novel about love, loss, and family ties isn't to be missed.

Author Blurb William Kent Krueger
Goldman has an unerring ear for snappy dialogue and a poet's eye for the beauty of nature. This is a compelling story of how the past is never truly the past, and how we make sense of the gifts that are offered us in every present moment. I loved this book.

Reader Reviews

Sharon Robinson

A Language Rich Book
This is a book in which the mystery takes a slight backseat to the rich characterization. The author chooses to give us insight into his characters through his lively language. One woman is described as "look(ing) like the kind of woman, who, if...   Read More
Techeditor

This book grabbed me from page 1
Don't you just love it when you read a really good book by a new-to-you author, and now you get to read his previously unknown-to-you books? That's how I feel now. I just read the really good CAROLINA MOONSET by Matt Goldman, a new-to-me author who ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Lewy Body Dementia

In Matt Godman's novel, Carolina Moonset, one of the main characters has Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a degenerative condition similar to Alzheimer's disease.

According to the National Institute of Health, "Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain [and these] changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood." It is one of the most common forms of dementia, affecting over one million people in the United States. It's a progressive, fatal disease that can't be cured at this time.

It is unclear what causes LBD; age is considered the only real risk factor, and ...

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