Book Reviews by Mae Clair: Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman #mystery #suspense #southernfiction

Striped kitten lying on open book, eyeglasses resting on pages. Book and kitten on white blanket

Happy Hump Day! For today’s book review, I must give a shout-out to Lady Tessa of Tessa Talks Books who first alerted me to this fantastic family drama and mystery. Carolina Moonset is definitely a winner!

Book cover shows old antebellum mansion on edge of marsh at twilight

by Matt Goldman

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thank you to Net Galley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing an ARC.

From the title, to the book cover, to the blurb, I couldn’t wait to disappear into the pages of this novel. I was so engrossed, I read 68% in one sitting, then finished it the next day, frustrated sleep had intervened.

Joey Green visits his parents in the small South Carolina town where his father grew up, focused on spending time with his dad, Marshall, a beloved local physician who is sinking into dementia. When Marshall starts talking about the past, holding conversations with people who aren’t there, Joey and his mother chalk his behavior up to a deteriorating mind. But it soon becomes apparent there are secrets hidden in his reminiscing, puzzle pieces that bind the past to the present. When one of the town’s most influential citizens is murdered, suspicions fall on Marshall, but Joey knows his father is innocent. Finding out who is responsible opens a door on an old tragedy and unresolved circumstances.

While I found the mystery from the past to be the more intriguing of the two, I was completely surprised by the identity of the killer in the present. Although this is more of a quiet story, it moves at a pace that makes it impossible to set the book down. The descriptions are phenomenal, the richly detailed setting easily transporting the reader to a place of salt marshes, shrimp boats, and antebellum homes.

Main and secondary characters are equally well-developed, and no one gets short shrift (I developed such a soft spot for Bubba). There is a subplot with a low-key romance, but it enhances rather than detracts from the overall tale. Beautifully written, this is a story that touches on relationships, sacrifice, heartache, and love. I thought the ending was perfect, and would recommend this to anyone who likes an intelligent and compelling mystery with memorable characters.


63 thoughts on “Book Reviews by Mae Clair: Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman #mystery #suspense #southernfiction

  1. Okay, I’m hooked. I love the sound of the southern setting, and the overall plot line, and if the writing is as good as you say–and I know you wouldn’t make that up 😄–I think I need to head straight to Amazon! Great review, as usual, Mae! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Woohoo! It’s a multi-layered, compelling read, Marcia. I was sucked in (even though it has a quiet start) and couldn’t stop reading. The characters and setting were off the chart. I do love southern fiction. Toss in family dynamics and a great mystery and I was a happy camper! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounding more and more like my kinda book. Just what I love to read and what I strive to write. Yep, already got this one coming! Thanks again for the great review. 😊😊😊


    • Teri, with your background with SC, I suspect you would love this one. I’ve only been to NC, but I thoroughly loved the setting. I have a passion for southern fiction, especially when it’s well written, and this one really delivered.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was a great story. So glad you enjoyed it too, Sharon. I thought Marshall’s condition was handled sensitively and well. My mother suffered from dementia too, but not the type addressed in the book. Even so, I was able to relate. His character really pulled my heartstrings. Thanks for adding your thoughts today!


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