A DISTURBING NATURE

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Maurice “Mo” Lumen may be 24 years old but he acts much like a preadolescent. Ever since Mo suffered a seizure at 11, he has acted differently. His main passions are baseball and fishing. To most, he is “a respectful, affable young man with limited maturity and intellect” who works as a groundskeeper at a college in Rhode Island. But does he have a dark side? When young women start turning up dead in the area, Mo eventually becomes a suspect. Cue FBI agent Francis “Frank” Palmer. Frank is so committed to his work that his personal life has unraveled. It doesn’t help that he’s been “exposed to the horrors lurking in society’s shadows.” Still, the man gets results. He even gives guest lectures at Harvard. When Mo and Frank finally cross paths, it is October 1975. The Red Sox are in the World Series. Mo has befriended a suspicious professor who clearly wants more than to just watch baseball with the young man. The media have dubbed whomever is responsible for the recent murders the Pastoral Predator. Could the predator really be Mo? At over 500 pages, Lebeau’s series opener takes the long route to finding out who the monster is. Readers learn about Mo’s family background, the men he works with as a groundskeeper, and the journey that brought him to Rhode Island. Likewise, Frank’s details include the time he told his father he didn’t want to be a lawyer, a meal he had with serial killer Ted Bundy, and what he thinks of the buildings at Harvard. All of this information makes for a slow burn. But while the story’s pace can be painstaking, once all the cards are on the table, the tension is immense. Who is the Pastoral Predator? Just as readers think they are sure of the answer, serious doubts are likely to arise.

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