A Fearsome Moonlight Black by David Putnam

Title: A Fearsome Moonlight Black (A Bone Detective Novel #1)

Author: David Putnam

Published on: 18 October 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Fearsome Moonlight Black is the first book in David Putnam’s Bone Detective series.

I am not new to David Putnam’s writing. When I heard of David’s new series, I knew I had to give it a try. A Fearsome Moonlight Black is the best series debut ever!

These are the things I usually look for in a series debut – character introduction and background, setting – series plot + plot of the debut novel, a breakthrough case that made our protagonist famous (not just a gist of it but all the nitty-gritty deets!) and of course, policemen are human beings too so a dash of romance (or a broken relationship) to seal the deal.

A Fearsome Moonlight Black has all the pointers mentioned above and then some more. Dave Beckett was a wide-eyed young man when he joined the force. Initially on a probation for six months, Dave learned it the hard way that not all police work is black and white. The memories of seeing a dead body – his first dead body, hazing by senior officials, being called nicknames, support of senior officials who actually care for him – all the things that a Rookie would face in the initial days on the force.

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The story begins with Dave being asked to go on a routine check – a man on the high-risk list (suicide) failed to arrive at his appointed time (shrink). As Dave visits the man’s house, he sees a will on the kitchen island but the man is nowhere to be seen… The man’s car is parked outside but the keys are on the lawn. The only place where Dave missed to check is the garage… And this is how Dave saw his first dead body – a suicide case.

During his six months probation, Dave comes across two more dead bodies – one is an accident case and the other, a murder. If this wasn’t enough, Dave meets his school crush – Beth at the Market Place. Beth and Cole were inseparable in school. Dave assumes they are still together. Beth comes to his place one day and requests him to look into Cole’s mispers case.

Cole and Beth were to be married soon. But life had other plans for them – Cole went missing soon after losing his job. When Beth had raised a complaint, the detective-in-charge leered at her and refused to take it seriously. It’s been three years now and Cole is nowhere to be found. When Dave looks at the case file, he learns nothing more.

But in a few days the brutal murder of Jessica DeFrank would again shift all my beliefs and forever change my world. A loss of innocence along with an unshakable conviction that true evil did exist.

Then comes a turning point in Dave’s life when he gets involved in a case involving the murder of a teenage girl.

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The book is divided into two parts. The first part is Dave’s life as a Rookie – and his love affair with Beth. There’s a time jump of eight years – which is how the second part of the book starts. Dave is now a well-established detective. A no-nonsense guy who goes against his boss’ orders if needed. One such incident puts him under suspension and his boss gives him an alternative – work on the cold cases. Thus, Dave starts his journey as a Bone Detective – or, as people call him – Bone Dick.

I was hooked on to the story and could not put it down until the end. I loved the character introduction – Dave’s journey as a Rookie was well portrayed. All the nitty gritty details, ups and downs, and everything else – making the first half of the story a perfect setting for the series. The second part of the book was simply mind-blowing. Remember, there is a time leap and Dave is no more a Rookie. There is a case that bothers him – and he manages to find himself in the midst of a very dirty game where the victim turns into a predator.

I hope this series gets picked up for a TV adaptation. If the debut is too good to be true and fantabulous, I cannot imagine how good the next installments would be. I cannot wait to see what’s next for our Bone Detective, Dave Beckett.

A Fearsome Moonlight Black by David Putnam is an addictive, fast-paced, mind-blowing, intense page-turner. If you like to read police procedurals, you will LOVE this book!


I received an ARC from Level Best Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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