Book: Biting the Moon

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Biting the Moon

Author: Martha Grimes
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

She does not know who she is, where she’s from, how she got here. She wakes one morning in a bed-and-breakfast alone. She is told by the owner she came in “dead asleep” with her father. But she knows the man is not her father. She takes her backpack, bedroll, and the wad of money she finds in his jacket and heads for the mountains, seeing in their bleak and towering landscape some kind of safety.

Months later, she walks down from the mountains and into the life of fourteen-year-old Mary Dark Hope. Bound by their lack of family, their murky pasts, their affinity for animals, they set out to find the man who abducted her. Whitewater rafting, canned hunts, molestation, and murder—all move toward an inevitable and harrowing confrontation.


A teenage girl wakes up alone in a bed and breakfast in Santa Fe with no memory of who she is or how she got there. The innkeeper explains that the man who brought her there said he was her father. But the one thing she knows for sure is that he is not—and that she must flee before he returns. Taking his jacket, money, and gun, she hikes into the surrounding mountains; in an unlikely scenario that only a writer as talented as Grimes can make plausible, she survives the harsh winter and even flourishes, seeking solace in the company of coyotes she frees from their illegal traps. When she reemerges from the wilderness a few months later, seeking to unravel the mystery of who she is, she walks into the life of 14-year-old Mary Dark Hope, a lonely orphan who becomes her ally and companion. Together they track the stranger who abducted her, who holds the key to the secret of her identity—the man she knows only as “Daddy.”

The thrilling odyssey that takes the two girls into the murky world of illegal dogfights, hunting, and wild-animal profiteers culminates in a dramatic confrontation, but it is the brilliantly realized characters rather than the plot that capture the reader’s imagination and keep the pages turning. Another tour de force for Grimes, and a cause for celebration for her many fans. —Jane Adams

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