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Walking the Perfect Square (Moe Prager #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  952 Ratings  ·  147 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
ebook, 230 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Busted Flush Press (first published February 1st 2002)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,242)
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Feb 07, 2013 Ctgt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir
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
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
Ross Cumming
Mar 17, 2016 Ross Cumming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have only recently discovered Reed Farrel Coleman and this is only the second of his novels that I have read but I am well and truly hooked.
This is the first in the Moe Prager series. In the novel we are introduced to Moe who is an ex-cop who has had to leave the force because of a knee injury. He is planning opening a wine business with his brother but in the meantime he is asked by his former Police partner Rico to look into a missing persons case as a favour to a friend of Rico's wife. I wi
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 ran across Coleman when I read his continuation of Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone series. I liked that a lot so I thought I would take a look at Coleman’s Moe Prager series.

Moe Prager has been invalided out of the NYPD after having knee surgery. How it happened depended on how drunk he was during the retelling. The truth was he slipped on a piece of carbon paper in the squad room. Having fortuitously found a missing girl while on the beat, he is approached by Francis Maloney, a haughty anti-se
Sep 29, 2013 Maddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-reads
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
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
C.E. G
Mar 17, 2014 C.E. G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Oct 14, 2015 Hobart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.

Moe Prager is waiting to call his daughter on her birthday, but before he can do that he answers a phone call that may lead him to solving an old missing persons case. It's a case that he investigated twenty years previously, shortly after an injury forced his retirement from the NYPD. We spend most of the novel in the 70's, with brief looks at Prager's present, tracing his work on the case.

As a mystery novel, it's okay. Nothing special, bu
Linda Baker
Jun 08, 2010 Linda Baker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 31, 2009 Shannon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-series
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
May 25, 2015 Steffi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: places-new-york
Meine Erwartungen an diesen Krimi waren aufgrund einer irreführenden Besprechung im Internet völlig falsch und daher ist meine Kritik sicher völlig ungerechtfertigt, denn als Krimi funktioniert die Geschichte halbwegs (mal davon abgesehen, dass mir einige Sachverhalte früher klar waren als dem Ermittler). Enttäuscht hat mich der Sprung ins Jahr 1978 (ausgehend von der Rahmenhandlung, die im New York des Jahres 1998 angesiedelt ist) mit der Erwähnung realer Kneipen, Szeneviertels und damit verbun ...more
Feb 13, 2009 Lesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
I'm sad to say I didn't really care for this book that much. I was prompted to pick this one up because I read Where It Hurts just recently, and it was excellent. It wasn't that I didn't like Coleman's writing style, I just didn't really care for the story much. The mystery is set in the seventies and there is are a lot of racial slurs and homophobic attitudes involved. There is severe brutality against a trans-woman in a hate crime. I disliked how the romance in this story seemed to overshadow ...more
Sep 24, 2016 dOnnabud rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this initial installment of the moe prager series is a great read :) the twisted and intriguing plot is woven through a two-decade period, and features a tasty splash of romance.

some favorite passages (from large print edition)
"I found Patrick's old room, Led Zeppelin blasting on the other side of the door. The bass line ignored the door, massaging my feet through the soles of my shoes." (page 99)

"The smell of marijuana was intense and not unwelcome. I'd smoked my share in college, baked hash br
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.
Debra Askanase
Jun 21, 2015 Debra Askanase rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A very fulfilling mystery, with all the elements I enjoy: good writing, character development, a detective whose life you want to continue following/knowing, a good mystery, and no gore. This tips its hat to 50s hard-boiled mysteries without every going campy in the least. The plot moves between several months in 1978 and a few days in 1998, both intertwined. As the mystery unfolds (missing college student) other mysteries reveal themselves and you want to know more. Also refreshing to read abou ...more
Jul 31, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me several attempts to get into the book, but I'm glad I stuck with it. I found Moe Prager to be an extremely likable character; and the mystery itself was straightforward and well paced. The end was sad; and even though the bulk of the book was set in the 1970's; the more things change the more they stay the same.

"Times, however have changed and a candidate needs the support of all the people. You can't afford to alienate whole groups of people because you don't like the way they dress or
John Culuris
Aug 31, 2016 John Culuris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Afterwards of my edition (Busted Flush Press, 2008) the author states that while he had the basic story of Walking the Perfect Square for a while, he lacked the necessary skill to execute it until somewhere around 2001. Your mind automatically goes to the time shifts that the novel employs. That’s not the whole of it. The part of the story that takes place in 1998, in this case “the present,” is essentially a framing sequence with a few extra slices interspaced throughout. Any rough patch ...more
Oct 20, 2014 Nadine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice start to a mystery series. Mo Praeger is summoned to a dying man's bedside, a man he has never met. The story then flashes back to his first case as a private investigator, about a missing man. The case is very troubling, as the man's father, an influential NYC politico, seems reluctant for his son to be found.

More than a mystery, this book details Mo's family life as well as his victim's. The story is told in first person, and goes back and forth in time until we see the connection between
Dec 20, 2014 Flannery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After being fascinated by the tv-serie "True detective" I discovered the story of Moe Prager which is also set in two time-levels. The main story takes place in the 1970ies-New York, another one of my favourite themes, but is told from the end of the nineties. Moe Prager is an Ex-Cop, who is involved in the disappearence of a student and encounters the evil sides of individuals. The story is at the same time full of suspense and full of the average normal life. Thats what I like a lot about this ...more
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
Rob Kitchin
Aug 10, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kathleen Hagen
Walking the Perfect Square, by Reed Farrel Coleman, A-minus, narrated by Andy Caploe, produced by Audible inc. and downloaded from

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
Michael Jody
Nov 08, 2013 Michael Jody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
May 08, 2011 Spuddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#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
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aka Tony Spinosa

Reed Farrel Coleman’s love of storytelling originated on the streets of Brooklyn and was nurtured by his teachers, friends, and family.

A New York Times bestseller called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan and the “noir poet laureate” in the Huffington Post, Reed is the author of novels, including Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone series, the acclaimed Moe Prager series, shor
More about Reed Farrel Coleman...

Other Books in the Series

Moe Prager (9 books)
  • Redemption Street (Moe Prager, #2)
  • The James Deans (Moe Prager, #3)
  • Soul Patch (Moe Prager, #4)
  • Empty Ever After (Moe Prager, #5)
  • Innocent Monster (Moe Prager, #6)
  • Hurt Machine (Moe Prager, #7)
  • Onion Street (Moe Prager, #8)
  • The Hollow Girl (Moe Prager, #9)

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