Nancy Sherer reviews...

book jacket

Half-Moon and Empty Stars
Gerry Spence

In general, novels are like snow cones, a little bit of syrup in a lot of ice. Out of loyalty, I suppose, I read novels that are written by my favorite non-fiction authors, but am usually disappointed. For instance, Isaac Asimov's slender volume about mathematics is worth all his fiction put together. Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain, Dragon's of Eden, and The Demon Haunted World belong on everyone's bookshelf, but his novel "Contact" didn't work. Click on any above title to buy now.

When I saw that Gerry Spence had written a novel, I expected the same disappointment, but I also knew that, like Asimov and Sagan, I could expect some amount of wisdom or enlightenment or entertainment tucked into an adequate story. What I found in Half- Moon and Empty Stars surprised me.

Any novel, regardless of its theme, must be well told. Half-Moon and Empty Stars is storytelling at it's best. Set in recent history near an Indian reservation in Wyoming, country lawyer Abner Hill seeks justice for an Arapaho renegade accused of murder. In plain-spoken, even tones, Spence lays the case before us. Is truth trumped by prejudice? Does our justice system work? He tells the story in a straightforward manner, one American to another, giving us all the information we need. After the facts are all laid out, and the crime is solved, the reader is left with one final question—who is the psychotic Emmett Jones that kills without emotion or motive? Although this story could only take place in America, it deals with universal ideas. It is a great American novel. Don't miss it.

Buy It Now

Half-Moon and Empty Stars
Gerry Spence
Scribner, 1999


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Nancy Sherer


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