Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman: Suspenseful, Insightful

Both suspenseful and deeply moving, Carolina Moonset is an engrossing novel about family, memories both golden and terrible, and secrets too dangerous to stay hidden forever, from New York Times bestselling and Emmy Award-winning author, Matt Goldman.


Joey Green has returned to Beaufort, South Carolina, with its palmettos and shrimp boats, to look after his ailing father, who is succumbing to dementia, while his overstressed mother takes a break. Marshall Green’s short-term memory has all but evaporated, but, as if in compensation, his oldest memories are more vivid than ever. His mind keeps slipping backwards in time, retreating into long-ago yesterdays of growing up in Beaufort as a boy.


At first this seems like a blessing of sorts, with the past providing a refuge from a shrinking future, but Joey grows increasingly anxious as his father’s hallucinatory arguments with figures from his youth begin to hint at deadly secrets, scandals, and suspicions long buried and forgotten. Resurfacing from decades past are mysteries that still have the power to shatter lives―and change everything Joey thought he knew.


Especially when a new murder brings the police to his door…

This author, Matt Goldman, is a new author to me but when asked to review this novel, I found myself intrigued by the description of the story. I happen to agree with all the positive words. This novel is deeply moving, not only because it deals with dementia but also the ways in which the main character deals with his father’s ailment. It is also suspenseful, riveting, and completely engrossing. 

For me, one of the reasons for the story being so interesting is the use of the father’s ailment to delve into the past to solve the current mystery before the main character, Joey, not only as he struggles with his father’s illness but also the dilemma it brings forth, the possibility that his father could have murdered someone. The secrets, scandals, and long ago suspicions are well handled but also paced perfectly through the novel, to keep readers absorbed in the narrative. I found myself equally invested as the characters in what would happen next and if the murder would be solved. The ending, which ties up tiny subplots including the romantic arch, is perfect. 

In addition to the plot and the pacing is the emotions of the characters. Which among us would not be overwhelmed by a loved one’s illness or scared when dark secrets arise from a past we were unaware of?  How many of us wonder what secrets our parents carry around with them?  And if faced with an unimaginable ailment like dementia or Alzeimer’s worry how we would deal in the face of being lost to our own parent’s or loved ones?  The realism of the character’s actions and emotions, the way the author explores the effects of dementia, not only physically with the character but also the emotional impact, is what makes this novel so moving. 

If you love suspense with a taste of realism, a touch of romance, and an intriguing murder mystery, I highly recommend Carolina Moonset.  It uses a dark disease to unveil an incredible story. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 hallucinations

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