By Ed Lynskey
Topaz Moon is a hard-boiled crime novel set in the fictitious town of Emerald Shire, Virginia. Hondo Gunn, an early middle-aged criminal attorney, feels lonely while Aggie Essex is a twentysomething editor who also lives and works there. They bump into each other at the post office, and this time the sparks fly between them. The rub is Hondo worked as an attorney for the mobster don Drake Hardcastle and his daughter Maeve in Chicago some twenty years before. Maeve and Hondo were lovers who forged a long-term pact where he could leave gangland Chicago, if he agreed to serve as her consigliere when she became the top crime boss. Desperate to eject from the mob, he grabs her offer, bizarre to most but not to her. Drake has died, and Maeve, now in charge, wants Hondo to honor their pact. Except having gone straight, he’s freaked by tangling again with her in mobster Chicago, preferring to stay in Emerald Shire with Aggie. The enraged Maeve flies from Chicago to Emerald Shire and confronts Hondo in a climactic face-off that changes their lives forever.