The Measure of the Moon
by Lisa Preston
Cover Artist: Design by Damonza
Review by Mel Jacob
Thomas & Mercer Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781503937574
Date: 18 April 2017 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Lisa Preston explores two very different stories in The Measure of the Moon. One concerns a young boy and the other a dissatisfied woman. The boy witnesses a crime in progress while the woman seeks to solve the mystery of an old photo. Both have no inkling of the tragedy hiding in their lives.
Greer, the young boy, stumbles on a big man beating a woman in the forest and stops him only to become his target after the woman escapes. The man swears to kill the boy's entire family if he should tell anyone about the beating.
The boy had fallen off his horse and is lost miles from home. Eventually, a member of his family finds him. The boy honors his promise, but the weight of his silence drags on his spirit and his family has no idea what is wrong with him.
Meanwhile, in a distant city, a young woman aspires to be a photojournalist. Her husband gifted her with two cameras. Inside one she discovers undeveloped film. Eventually, she is able to make a print of the sole picture. It reveals a group of children. She estimates the picture must have been taken fifty or so years ago.
Gillian, the photographer, is unhappy with her life and her marriage despite having a loving and supportive husband. Having won a coveted prize for one of her pictures, she links up with a famous journalist and plans to work with him. He flirts and encourages her to learn more about the people in the old photograph.
Eventually, she finds the camera’s owner, but secrets still remain. Then her husband's stepsister and her child move into their garage apartment. The noise of the child's crying angers Gillian and she demands the stepsister move.
Greer's family, unable to cope with his withdrawal and behavior, consider committing him to a psychiatric hospital. He fears to leave his family certain the bad man will kill them.
Meanwhile, police have been investigating the disappearance of a local woman. So far no trace of her has been found. Eventually, the stories converge.
Preston creates believable and somewhat tragic characters as they struggle to survive in an uncertain world. Finding themselves is fraught with complications and fear. Much of the tone is dark with the fears of various characters driving the action. This novel is more psychologically oriented than most mysteries and closer to the literary genre. She is also the author of Orchids and Stones.