Moon’s Crossing begins with the suicide of Jim Moon in New York City in 1914. A Civil War veteran, a husband and a father in Iowa, he left his family for a visit to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and never returned. The policeman investigating his death finds a young woman living in his hotel room, and, almost against his will, finds himself drawn to discover who she was to Moon and who Moon was himself.
Moon was a dreamer and a wanderer who finds the lure of the World’s Fair more compelling than his wife and son. Only intending to visit, he finds himself caught up in its excitement and promise. He meets Nick, who befriends him all too quickly, and they both meet Claire, who lives with her brother and his wife in Pullman, the town created by railroad magnate George Pullman. Moon, Nick, and Claire all become involved in the famous Pullman strike.
Characters are unevenly drawn. Moon remains frustratingly opaque, while Nick turns into a one-dimensional villain. But Moon’s abandoned son in Iowa reveals a hidden spark when he rebels against his overbearing fiancée, and Michael, the policeman, who starts the story as the clichéd bad cop, gains some humanity. Croft paints a vivid picture of both turn-of-the-century Chicago and early twentieth-century New York, highlighting the harshness of those cities at those times. Both were unforgivable to those without money and power.