Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a review of "Moonlight Mile" [79]

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0061836923
November 2, 2010, 336 pages

It was almost thirteen years ago when Amanda McCready, then just four years old, disappeared from her home. But investigator Patrick Kenzie found her, found the people who had kidnapped her and brought them to justice, returning little Amanda to her mom.
And every day since, he questions whether he made the right decision.

Now Amanda is gone again and her aunt, the only person who really seems to care about her, begs Patrick to find her once more. Amanda has had a rough time since her return because, you see, the mother she was returned to is a drunk and always tied to some very, very unsavory boyfriend. Nevertheless, it seems that Amanda has done her best to overcome her background and her best is very good. An outstanding student, remarkably self sufficient for her 16 years, on the path to a full scholarship at an Ivy League school, it seems impossible that she would just walk away.

Patrick has come a long way since 1997 too and the place he has arrived at is not all good. On the plus side, he is now married to Angela Gennaro, his partner in past books in the series, and they have a beautiful 4 year old daughter and a great marriage. The bad side is, since Angela is back in school, he is the sole breadwinner and the investigation business is not doing too well... and he has no idea how they will pay their Blue Cross bill, one in a big pile, due at the end of the month. Now is not really the best time to be taking a non-paying job but he feels he owes Amanda a debt. His guilt about the first outcome will mean he can't stay away, not until he finds out what happened to Amanda. But are he and Angela still up to dealing with meth dealers and Russian mobsters...or any more prepared to deal with the moral questions that will arise once again?

Unlike many of my fellow book bloggers, I must admit that I have never read a book by Mr. Lehane before. Not Mystic River, not Shutter Island, Gone, Baby Gone, the book that tells the story about the first time Amanda disappeared, not one of the previous books in the Patrick/Angela series.
But I do not think that decreased my enjoyment of this book one little bit, because enjoy it I did. The story is fast paced and engaging, the dialogue, smart and witty and very realistic. And the characters are very good. Yes, Patrick and Angela are very engaging and while this book may be, according to many, the end of the series, reading this book makes me want to go back and check out some of the previous books in the series. But by far, the best character in the book is the missing girl, young Amanda, even though it is well into the book before we even meet her. She puts a whole new twist on clever and is at the heart of many of this book's best twists and turns.
OK, maybe the story is at times a bit over the top, maybe a few of the characters verge on being a bit cartoonish. And maybe, according to some critics, this book does not have the depth or complexity that some of Lehane's books are know for. But it is very well written and totally enjoyable, a must read for fans of this series and a great standalone or series introduction to the rest of us.

My thanks to the folks at Harper Collins/William Morrow for an ARC of this book.


  1. I haven't read this particular book, but I do trust Lehane to be a master whenever he puts pen to paper. I've never met one of his books I didn't love!gi

  2. I'm a fan of Lehane's, so I'm anxious to read this book. He builds tension so well. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it.

  3. I know the previous book was made into a movie that is supposed to be quite good. I think I would want to read both of them ... in order. I enjoyed his "Mystic River" (if you can enjoy books like that!)


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