Walking the Perfect Square
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Walking the Perfect Square (Moe Prager #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  641 ratings  ·  108 reviews
"The story and the characters will hook you, and Coleman's lightly warped take on the world will make you laugh, dark as the tale is."--Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness

"Whenever our customers are looking for a new series to read, they often leave with a copy of "Walking the Perfect Square." It has easily been our best-selling backlist title. Thank you, Busted Flush, for bring...more
230 pages
Published June 28th 2010 by Busted Flush Press (first published February 1st 2002)
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Walking the Perfect Square - Ex
Coleman, Reed Farrel - 1st in series

Brooklyn PI Moe Praeger is an ex-cop forced to retire because of a knee injury is to find the son of another cop, a young man who left a party one night and hasn't been seen since. So many people have been searching for Patrick Mahoney in the 20 years since his disappearance that Moe doesn't expect to be successful. As his investigation proceeds, he finds himself looking for two Patricks: one a choir boy lookalike and the other d...more
Christina G
Last year a friend and I went on a tour of Minneapolis's genre bookstores and asked for a book recommendation at each stop. As a librarian who definitely has *opinions* on how such a conversation should go, the clear winner on the reader's advisory front was Once Upon a Crime - the mystery bookstore. They asked lots of good questions, clearly knew the genre, and were very excited to talk to us about books.

I asked for a mystery that would appeal to non-mystery readers, with great writing and comp...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I was torn between three and four stars for this one, but the book REALLY held my interest, so I went with the higher rating. I finished it in 24 hours! Outstanding choice for those times when you want something fairly easy to read that sucks you in right away and keeps you reading. Beach, airplane ride, bad day at work, hangover, vacation, or all of the above.
I liked this enough that I went right out and got the next one in the series, so that's a good sign.
I read Gun Church a week ago and had to go out and pick up the first book in the Moe Prager series. I loved GC and I wasn't disappointed with WtPS.

Definitely not your typical PI book, I mean, he's not even a PI. Prager is an ex-cop now retired because of a knee injury. Prager gets a call from a hospice nurse saying that a patient wants to see him and only him even though Prager doesn't know the patient. The story then jumps back and forth in time to a period right after his injury when he became...more
The best description I can come up with for this book is that at the end, I wanted to wash my mind out with soap. I am not squeamish, but this book was too much for me. It was like a layer of grit covered everything in the book, with nothing totally clean present. Part of what I found so disturbing was that many of the upsetting scenes were presented so matter-of-factly. It somehow made it worse that the characters didn't find their behavior appalling.

I was also not a big fan of Coleman's writin...more
If you're looking for blood and guts this isn't for you. Moe Prager is a noir kind of detective, and he's presented as human. He's a good guy, smart, honest, and wants to do the right thing - all of which serve to get him into trouble at times. As for the plot, it's interesting and makes you want to know what happens, but not because it's one of those, "I cannot BELIEVE that just happened" kind of books. Because Moe's a good guy you get to see the dysfunction of his family and how he tries to na...more
This is a great mystery story! The first Moe Prager book I read was The James Deans (book #3), then Redemption Street (book #2). I don't know why I read them out of order, as I don't usually do that. But reading this book (book #1) was interesting because I got the entire back-story about Moe's wife's family and what happened at the beginning of their relationship. But I also was given a glimpse of the future. It was kind of eerie.

I love the story and I love the dialogue. The characters are rea...more
1st in the Moe Prager series set in New York. Moe Prager is ex-NYPD who is hired to look for a missing college student. This book is told in long flashbacks, with the majority of the book set in 1978. It was a slow-starter for me, but when I finally was able to devote some serious reading time to it, the book took off. Will continue with this series.
Set mostly in 1978 New York City this book introduces Moe Prager a former NYC policeman who has been invalided out of the force with a bad knee. The author is one of my favorite Bouchercon panelists and I was a bit worried that his work would not live up to my expectations but I ended up really enjoying it and look forward to continuing on with the series.
Jason Toluba
Highly praised by NPR as a detective writer, I was less than impressed. A solid boiler-plate story that doesn't recommend enough for me to seek out the next book.
Lukasz Pruski
Reed Farrel Coleman’s “Walking the Perfect Square” is not an easy book to review. It is a good, probably even a very good novel, yet the publisher and the author himself are trying very hard to sell it as a masterpiece. There is a Foreword, where an Edgar Award-winning novelist Megan Abbott compares Mr. Coleman’s opus to that of Raymond Chandler. She detects Chandlerian themes, Chandlerian rhythm, and Chandlerian melancholy in Mr. Coleman’s prose. The author provides a pompous and pretentious Af...more
Linda Baker
I had been aware of Reed Farrel Coleman's Moe Prager series for quite some time but had never gotten around to reading any of the Shamus and Anthony Award winners. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Coleman at Book Expo and picking up a copy of the 3rd in the series, The James Deans. After about 20 pages, I knew that I wanted to start the series at the beginning with Walking the Perfect Square.

Moe Prager is a Jewish New York cop on early retirement because of an injury. He is pretty bored with re...more
Rob Kitchin
Walking the Perfect Square shuttles back and forth between 1978 and 1998, with Moe reflecting back on the case as he waits to meet a dying man who holds the promise of adding the final piece to a puzzle that has shaped the course of his life over the previous twenty years. It’s a plot device that works well; indeed, the plot unfolds and twists cleverly, hooking the reader in early and never letting go. Whilst the writing is quite functional (rather than the poetic prose I was expecting given oth...more
WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE. (2001). Reed Farrel Coleman. ****.
After reading “Tower,” a recent novel co-authored by Ken Bruen and Reed Coleman, I thought I’d look a little closer at Coleman’s works on his own. He wrote three crime novels featuring a different protagonist, but apparently they didn’t work out. He then came up with a new hero – Moe Trager. Moe is an ex-cop from Brooklyn who has been invalided out of the force because of an accident that ruined his knee. He has gotten tired of hangin...more
SETTING: Brooklyn, New York - 1978 and 1998
SERIES: #1 of 4

At one time, Moe Prager was an officer with the NYPD, admittedly, not a very good one, although he did love the job. He's been forced to retire due to an injury. Contrary to expectations, he wasn't injured while taking down a big time criminal; rather, he hurt his knee when he slipped on a piece of paper in the squad room. He's had a few operations, but his mobility has been affected and he needs to...more
Kathleen Hagen
Walking the Perfect Square, by Reed Farrel Coleman, A-minus, narrated by Andy Caploe, produced by Audible inc. and downloaded from audible.com.

Moe Prager recently went on permanent disability leave from the job he loved as a NYPD cop. His disability was caused by a freak accident when he slipped and fell on a piece of carbon paper (this was the ‘70’s) and permanently injured his knees and back. In much pain and lost without the job he loved, he was going to settle for second best-going into the...more
Michael Jody

I suppose you could call Walking The Perfect Square by Reed Farrel Coleman, a detective novel. Or a perhaps a thriller. You might even call it a murder mystery. It is all of those things, but somehow defies categorization on those terms. For one thing Moe Prager, the hero of the novel, is a Jew. Take my word for this, though there are some Jewish murder mysteries out there in fiction-land, Semitic detectives are few and far between in my experience....more
WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE introduces Moe Prager, a New York City police officer who was forced into early retirement by a bizarre, rather embarrassing accident. The book begins in the present - well, 1998 - when Moe is summoned by a dying man who claims to have knowledge of a case Moe worked right after his forced retirement, a case that still haunts Moe to this day. Then Moe flashes back to the late 70s. As he recovers from his career-ending accident physically, he also needs to figure out how...more
#1 Moe Prager mystery set in New York City in the late 1970s--and in the late 1990's as well. Moe is an ex-cop, farmed out on disability from an on the job injury. In 1978, one of his cop buddies asks him to look privately into the disappearance of a college student, Patrick Maloney, even though Moe isn't officially a PI. He's been missing about 2 months when Moe first encounters the case, which the boy's father is 'paying' him in favors to look into...expediting the liquor license Moe and his b...more
a certain friend has been pushing Moe Prager for a while. my first foray a year or so ago was unsuccessful, don't know why. this time around I was able to get into the story. some of it was a bit slow which is when skimming occurs, but on the whole really good. got better the more I got into it. liked the characters and what a wicked one Coleman put into the book (not Prager). couldn't wait for him to die and when he did it was too late. still and all a good mystery.
Katherine Clark
I have just started this for the second time. A few weeks ago, I tried the first few pages and couldn't get into it. Folks at 4MA were talking about the protagonist and the series as being a favorite, so I thought I would give it one more shot, this time to get the bad taste of Murder at Mansfield Park out of my mouth. I'm liking it on this go through. Might even finish it tomorrow, in time to start reading Emma.

Sad to say, I finished the book tonight, and basically, I don't like it. I do have t...more
I've never read anything by Reed Farrel Coleman before, but was looking for a new detective series to add to my list of reading material (John Sandford can only write so fast). Not a bad kick-off for a new detective, enjoyed it enough to give the second book a try. For those who might see this on FB, note the language is coarse in places, so be forewarned; if you don't want to see that in a book you won't want to read this one.
There are many mysteries where the lead character is an Ex-cop. In this book, Moe Prager, is just that but his character is so well developed that you feel he could actually be a friend. He is hired to find a missing person. Nothing unusual about that. However, there's a lot more within the pages of “Walking the Perfect Square”: anti-Semitism, and other forms of prejudice, cruelty, the misuse of governmental power, psychology, love, family relationships, different types of families, and more. Yo...more
A totally satisfying book; especially if were a "stand alone". The epilogue perfectly completes the story & allows one to easily conclude that the hero would end up happy; but I know there's more. The enjoyment in reading this book should compel me to read the rest in the series, confident that I would be similarly satisfied. I might just decide to leave with my winnings---------probably not. It was just too good.
Anne Moskoviz
I love Reed Farrel Coleman. His Moe Prager series is well-written, the plots interesting and not easily solved by the reader along the way. I read Onion Street first, which did not diminish the pleasure of finding this book and starting off the series. Each book in it can stand alone, and all hang together to make this series exceptional. Whether you enjoy police procedurals or just plain old-fashioned mysteries, this series doe not disappoint.

N.B. - Coleman has stories in "Brooklyn Noir" (avail...more
This was a thoughtful, complex, sad and reflective novel all wrapped up in a fairly traditionally presented amateur detective/ex-cop mystery. The back and forth through time really works as a structuring element to the story, and yet never seems like a device. By the time the present day mystery was revealed, it was just an aftershock in a series of little earthquakes of revelations all centered around this disappointment in the goodness of people, and the creation and destruction of the very te...more
Kathleen Dixon
It's interesting how the blurbs on the backs of books sometimes get it wrong. For example, it says on the back of this book that Moe (the protagonist) returns to the investigation .. after 20 years. No, he doesn't. He gets a phone call that a dying man wants to talk to him about it, and that takes him back down memory lane.

That aside, I enjoyed this book very much. Moe's voice is one with a touch of humour and insight. The story line has plenty of little twists in it, and a nice little romance....more
#1 in the Moe Prager series. For some inexplicable reason, the books in this acclaimed series keep gravitating to the bottom of my to-read pile. When I get around to reading them, I thoroughly enjoy them - but the next in the series goes to the bottom of the pile again.

Moe Prager series - Retired on disability, NYPD officer Moe Prager is lost. He settles on going into the wine business with his brother. When a student vanishes, Prager's life changed forever. Hired by the family, Moe plunges into...more
I had this book on hold forever at the library and it finally came in. It was a very good story, with really well drawn characters. I loved the feel to the book- you could hear the soundtrack in the background and imagine it as a gritty black and white movie, complete with calling ladies "dames" and talking about their "gams" or something. The story is set is the present with flashes back to the 70's, but it had a much older feel to it. I found myself loving and hating Moe at the same time- I wa...more
Sep 21, 2011 Steve rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steve by: NPR
I was living in New York when this book takes place (1978). I am not much of a mystery reader, but I had heard someone rave about this book on NPR. I enjoyed it as I was familiar with the time and place Coleman writes about. I did have a little trouble keeping the names straight (who was who) at times and I thought that the elder Maloney was a little to broadly drawn. The characterizations are somewhat flat and I would have liked a bit more insight as to who Jack was, as he turns out to be a maj...more
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aka Tony Spinosa

Reed Farrel Coleman, former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America, was Brooklyn born and raised. He is the author of ten novels in three series published under his name and his pen name Tony Spinosa. His sixth novel, The James Deans, won the Shamus, Barry, and Anthony Awards. The novel was further nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Gumshoe Awards. Reed is also...more
More about Reed Farrel Coleman...
Innocent Monster (Moe Prager, #6) Redemption Street (Moe Prager, #2) The James Deans (Moe Prager, #3) Hurt Machine (Moe Prager, #7) Soul Patch (Moe Prager, #4)

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