Half-Moon Investigations, by Eoin Colfer, is a book that just misses the mark. It’s a “detective” book. I call it that because it’s more humorous than mysterious. I thought it was on the border between “Not good enough to remember” and “Oh my god this is the best book ever. Everyone must read this!” That’s a rather big border, though, so I’ll give you more input.
Half-Moon has the same distinctive humor of Colfer’s smash hit series, Artemis Fowl, and is marketed to (basically) the same age group. So what is it that fails? One of the problems is that I don’t really feel connected with the main character, Fletcher. He’s basically the same person as Artemis (minus the genius part, of course). My problem is probably that it’s not a series. After all, in the first AF,(shorthand from now on) Artemis is decidedly un-likable. It’s hard to quickly get acquainted with your characters, especially if the book’s only 290 pages.
The progression through the book is basically backwards to AF. Fletcher is a nice guy and becomes a criminal. Artemis, vice versa. (How does a detective become a criminal? You’ll have to read the book to find out.) The Sharkeys, the book’s criminal family, are (ironically) the most genuinely likable people in the book. Classic criminals, they (1) come from a long line of robbers, cheaters and liars, (2) have family issues like the dead mother and the flawed father, and (3) need money. So they’re not really bad, are they? Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Colfer makes a point of showing their flaws, and that I like.
The detective part of the story is good. Interesting and full of twists and conspiracies, it makes me keep reading. In fact, I finished the book in one afternoon without stopping. The plot, like a good classic detective book, never made me say “I knew it!” This is not one of those stories where you can guess the ending easily. Although it could have been easy for some people, I couldn’t guess the culprit.
Overall, this is worth reading. Though it isn’t quite as great as AF, It’s a good, light, funny read (and possibly re-read) for summer.