Tom Seigel – The Astronaut’s Son

In 2005 Jonathan Stein has two missions to complete. The first one is well on its way: to return to the Moon as the first man back in three decades. The second one is a lot tougher: to uncover what was the real cause of his father’s Avi Stein death. Avi was supposed to be the first Israeli astronaut and one of the last men shot to the Moon as Apollo 18 crew in 1974. Was it a heart attack, a natural cause of death?

Jonathan had been writing letters for years to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon in 1969, but Armstrong answered none. Many conspiracy theories were around since the 1960’s, in more recent years websites, exposing all kinds of scenarios as proof that there were no men on the Moon, and the U.S. not even had the technology by then to reach further than low orbit.

In The Astronaut’s Son, by Tom Seigel Jonathan goes after Neil Armstrong and the last man on the Moon, the fictional Dale Lunden, who replaced Avi Stein on the mission and even fought to become the commander. Jonathan’s pregnant wife Susana, and friends Zudu and Helmut help tracking sources and unmask the mysterious Cassandra and ‘her’ website

A 1974 radio interview on tape, a stack of paper evidence, and the discovery of the past of well-known Nazi German scientists and rocketry engineers at NASA bring Jonathan what he’s looking for. Asking the hard questions in person give answers which may of course not exactly what he and you as a reader expect at the start of this convincing part of the novel. Jonathan’s own mission to the Moon is covered only superficially.

About the author

Tom Seigel was born in St. Louis, Missouri, just months before the Apollo 11 lunar landing. He grew up in rural Warren County, Missouri where his public school graduating class totaled sixty-four students. (Think the town of Hickory in Hoosiers.) During high school, he studied classical piano at the St. Louis Conservatory and School for the Arts. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in English Literature and Spanish, and after college, he attended the University of Michigan Law School.

Following a stint at a Manhattan law firm, Tom worked for eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn. There, he was Deputy Chief and Chief of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force. He prosecuted several high-ranking members of the Lucchese, Bonanno, and Colombo families. (Tom shares a birthday with legendary mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. No relation. Some irony.) He also prosecuted heroin traffickers, corrupt NYPD detectives, and NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

After twenty years as a litigator, Tom earned an MFA in fiction writing from Fairfield University. The Astronaut’s Son is his debut novel. He is currently working on a second novel. (No spoilers, but there may be mobsters.)

I received a free review copy from the publisher Woodhall Press through Netgalley in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.