MOON HOAX by Paul Gillebaard is a novel that explores the unique idea of China trying to discredit the American moon landings by bringing forth ‘proof’ that they never really happened. I was skeptical, at first, that Mr. Gillebaard would be able to do so in a way that would be believable. To my pleasant surprise he did, coming up with a fairly plausible plot that incorporated the hints of old urban legends with new Chinese subterfuge. Despite my preconceptions, I began to sink into the story. And then things started going wrong.
The main character was a little too perfect, his only flaws being his too good looks and his multitudes of associations with beautiful women.
The writing style, or voice, of the book is good for a new author but not what I would expect from a more experienced word-smith. Most of the characters are two-dimensional and clichéd. They don’t have the kind of depth that makes them real. They felt like characters in a book, and my favorite stories are the ones where I forget I’m reading fiction.
When action was needed, it moved along well, and the overall subject material was well researched, but I got the distinct impression that the book needed another edit, not just for typos (I found a couple of those), but more so for content.
Towards the end of the book Mr. Gillebaard had me turning pages quickly as he built some excellent suspense but then, he inexplicably gave away far too much information and the thrill that should have accompanied the situation that he had skillfully built fell apart. It was almost as bad as watching the Sixth Sense with an annoying nephew who says, “The Dr. is a ghost!” halfway through the movie. But enough of my reminiscing.
In my opinion Moon Hoax is a decent read, but not as good as it should, or could, have been. Mr. Gillebaard has the ability to make a story move forward and to captivate interest. When he learns to extract all of the potential suspense from the circumstances that he engineers, I’d be willing to bet that people will be waiting in line for that book. And I would be one of them.