Reviewed by Theodore Feit
After seven novels in the Moe Prager mystery series, a retrospective is in order, especially after Moe has undergone surgery and chemotherapy for stomach cancer. The occasion follows the funeral of a boyhood (and best) friend, after which his daughter, visiting from Vermont, asks him why he became a cop, and what follows is a story by itself.
Moe looks back to events in 1968 when he and his friends were attending Brooklyn College. The Vietnam War was raging, radicalism was in the air, and Moe was at loose ends. One night his girlfriend is found in a coma on the street, apparently having been viciously beaten, and suddenly Moe has a mission: to find the man who beat her up, taking him on a journey that later led him to become a policeman and PI.
It is a hard-boiled tale involving all the worst elements of the period, bomb-throwing radicals, dope pushers, rotten cops and the like. It also is a deep moral story involving right and wrong. The humor of past Moe Prager novels is missing from “Onion Street,” but that is completely understandable: it is not a light-hearted subject with deaths strewn along the way. And some of Moe’s various actions can be questioned, while his intentions are always honorable. All in all, it is a very human saga, and we get to know Moe a lot better in a serious way. Recommended.