It’s often said that history repeats itself, and it would appear that literary history—at least where Dennis Lehane is concerned—is no exception. In the world of private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, it’s been 12 years since four-year-old Amanda McCready vanished in Gone, Baby, Gone, only to be returned to her neglectful and conniving mother by a morally and ethically conflicted Kenzie. Now 16, Amanda, whip-smart and hardened by chronic parental neglect, has once more disappeared into the swirling eddies of Boston’s organized crime cartels. Her aunt Beatrice yet again appeals to Kenzie and Gennaro to find out what happened to Amanda, by extension offering a chance to lay to rest the demons that plagued them after the resolution of Amanda’s first disappearance. Kenzie is no longer a young man; now married (to Gennaro) and raising their own four-year-old daughter, he has more at stake personally than ever before, and the myriad complications of Amanda’s latest disappearance, along with the ghost of her previous kidnapping, have a personal immediacy that he can’t escape. As with any tale of crime and intrigue, there is far more at stake than Kenzie can guess, and he is quickly drawn into a situation that far outstrips his aging sensibilities and capabilities.
The sixth book in the Kenzie and Gennaro series, Moonlight Mile is as much a meditation on what it is to love another person as it is a slyly woven action tale, in which the heroes are getting older while the challenges they face seem only to become more morally fraught and powerful as time passes. What is left for someone when the life they once lived and loved, full of danger, blood and excitement, is no longer one they can sustain? How do you do right by the world when every choice hurts either those you love or those you strive to help? Lehane manages to address these weighty questions, deftly skirting tired moral platitudes and all the while keeping the reader’s pulse pounding. Those who enjoyed the previous books will certainly enjoy this one, while new readers will have the opportunity to enjoy the crackling chemistry Kenzie and Gennaro share, all the while being drawn into tightly plotted action that keeps the pages turning. Snappy dialogue, questions with morally ambiguous answers, a sense of the enduring humanity that manages to draw people together despite their situation, and a winking acknowledgement of the ironic comedy that is life all come together to give this book a sense of reality that is both rare and refreshing.
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A modern master of suspense revives the series that initially earned him a hard-core following.
Before Lehane attracted a lot more attention through the film adaptation of hisÂ Mystic RiverÂ (2001) and then made a major literary leap withÂ The Given DayÂ (2008), the author had built a loyal fan base through a series of detective novels featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. In this sequel toÂ Gone, Baby, GoneÂ (1998), they are no longer partners as Boston private investigators but a married couple with a four-year-old daughter. Patrick freelances for a venerable firm that caters to the city's power elite, where he wrestles with the morality of his work but hopes for a full-time job. While Angie finishes grad school, they are all but broke. Twelve years earlier, they'd been racked by the case of a kidnapped four-year-old, Amanda McCready, when they rescued her from a couple who only wanted the best for her and returned her to her unfit mother. Now Amanda has disappeared again, and Patrick must decide whether to revisit a case that had caused his estrangement from Angie for over a year, and which now could threaten their domesticity and their daughter. As a return to earlier form for Lehane, the novel lacks the psychological depth and thematic ambition of his recent work, but its wise-cracking dialogue, page-turning (though convoluted) plot and protagonists who are all the more likable for their flaws extend the addictive spirit of the series. "When your daughter asks what you stand for, don't you want to be able to answer her?" Angie challenges her husband. To do so, he becomes enmeshed with the Russian Mob, shifting allegiances and a wise-beyond-her-years, 16-year-old Amanda, who rubs his nose in the aftereffects of his earlier involvement with her. By the breathless climax, it may appear that this book is the last in the series. But Lehane has fooled us before.
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In 1998's Gone, Baby, Gone, Boston PI Patrick Kenzie rescued a four-year-old kidnapping victim and returned the child to her neglectful mother over partner and lover Angela Gennaro's objections. That decision ended the couple's professional and romantic relationship, although they briefly reunited in Prayers for Rain. In the 12 succeeding years, Lehane wrote several acclaimed stand-alone titles (e.g., Shutter Island; Mystic River) and his first historical novel, The Given Day. Yet the haunting conclusion of Gone, Baby, Gone obviously resonated with the author, as the result is this satisfying sequel. Now a freelance investigator for a white-shoe law firm, Patrick knows he was legally right but morally wrong in his actions years ago, but he and Angie, now married and raising a young daughter, don't discuss the Amanda McCready case. That is, until Amanda's aunt asks for Patrick's help in finding her missing (again) niece, who has grown into a brilliant but aloof 16-year-old. This time, he and Angie are determined to do the right thing by Amanda. VERDICT Longtime readers will appreciate how Lehane's protagonists have believably aged. Fatherhood has mellowed Patrick, but he's not above inflicting a little pain with the help of sidekick Bubba. Temporarily a stay-at-home mom, Angie misses the hard-edged excitement of her old life. A few false notes involve some cartoonish Russian villains, but the resolution, while sad to series fans, makes perfect sense. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/10.]--Wilda Williams, Library Journal[Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
An old case takes on new dimensions in Lehane's sixth crime novel to feature Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, last seen in 1999's Prayers for Rain. Twelve years earlier, in 1998's Gone, Baby, Gone, Patrick and Angie investigated the kidnapping of four-year-old Amanda McCready. The case drove a temporary wedge between the pair after Patrick returned Amanda to her mother's neglectful care. Now Patrick and Angie are married, the parents of four-year-old Gabriella, and barely making ends meet with Patrick's PI gigs while Angie finishes graduate school. But when Amanda's aunt comes to Patrick and tells him that Amanda, now a 16-year-old honor student, is once again missing, he vows to find the girl, even if it means confronting the consequences of choices he made that have haunted him for years. While Lehane addresses much of the moral ambiguity from Gone, this entry lacks some of the gritty rawness of the early Kenzie and Gennaro books. (Nov.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC