EMPTY EVER AFTER by Reed Farrel Coleman

This is the fifth and final book of the Moe Prager detective series.

“For over twenty years, retired NYPD officer and PI Moe Prager, has been haunted by the secret that would eventually destroy his family. Now, two years after the fallout from the truth, more that secrets are haunting the Prager family. Moe Prager follows a trail of grave robbers from cemetery to cemetery, from ashes to ashes and back again in order to finally solve the enigma of his dead brother-in-law, Patrick. He plunges deeper into the dark recesses of his past than ever before, revisiting all of his old cases, in order to uncover the twisted alchemy of vengeance and resurrection. Will Moe, at last, put his past to rest? Will he find the man who belongs in that vacant grave or will it remain empty, empty ever after?”

Most of this book is an examination of Moe’s past cases and who among those former characters would like to make Moe suffer. A good refresher if it’s been a long time since you’ve read the first four books…..but this complicated level of revenge seemed implausible.  This book is very dark, yet somehow it works.  That’s because of Moe – the mensch who tries to do the right thing, frequently with disastrous consequences. There’s always hope of redemption for Moe, who never surrenders.    It is not a book that would really stand alone well but it does a good job of tying up all the loose ends and revisiting the characters from the previous books.

In an Afterword,  the author gives us some final notes and thoughts after the series  end: it explains a lot about the core of the story, its meaning, his struggles and his opinions. They are almost exactly the answers to the kind of questions I would have asked him after reading his books.

If you are interested in what I have to say about his other books, just enter the author’s name in the search window of this blog.




This is a story of an isolated post-holocaust community determined to preserve itself, through a perilous experiment in cloning.  Written in 1977, this is a definitely 70s dystopian/apocalypic genre, well put together but from the vantage point of almost 2020, it has a quaint feel to it, kinda like listening to old grandpa tell about when he was a kid and had to walk to school in the snow, uphill, both ways.

David Sumner has a problem: the world as he knows it is about to end. what’s a brilliant young man and his equally brilliant family to do? why, bring back members of that extended family, store supplies, circle the wagons, and build a lab which will eventually help the Sumner family to repopulate the earth.  The lab is creating clones, and eventually the clones take over, and kick out the original human elders.  Eventually as generations of clone interations progresses, it turns out that each interation has less and less initiative and creativity and imagination.  You know how when you make a photocopy of a picture, then make another photocopy of that photocopy, and then a photocopy of that second photocopy, etc, etc., until finally the copy you make is starting to get blurry and out of true with the original?  Yeah, like that.

Our protagonist of the second half of the book is a rebel type boy who sees how things are going and is determined to disrupt the process and bring full humans back into the picture, believing that only humanity, not clones or what today we might call similacrums, can save the species, and eventually secretly establishes a small settlement where a handful of humans are the start of a new generation.  This part I found suspect, because I think there has been established by researchers a minimum number of people necessary to repopulate the world, but since I am too lazy to look it up, I will leave that to you.



This is the third in a series featuring a burned out detective, Jackson Brodie.

Three lives come together in unexpected and thrilling ways.  In Scotland, on a hot summer day, Joanna Mason’s family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna’s life is changed forever when a random killer assassinates three of the four children and the mother.  Joanna, told to run run by her mother, runs and hides in the cornfield, where she is later found by the police.  She is the only survivor of the attack.

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound.  The train hurtles down the side of the mountain, having crashed into a car that was on the tracks.

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV at the home of her teacher and mentor, who has cancer, but is privately tutoring Reggie so she can get into college.  Her tutor has gone to (I think) a Bingo game, but as we learn later, has had a bit of a mind episode and driven onto the tracks of that fated train.

Reggie, rushes to the nearby scene of the accident and saves Brodie.  OK, there is so much more to this story, that I find myself hard pressed to condense it all into something brief and coherent, so all I can say is read the book.  It is great!

If you enter the author’s name in the search window of this blog, you will get the reviews of the other three books of the series that I have read.