Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Moonlight Mile by, Dennis Lehane

All in all, it was an interesting Christmas Eve.

Amanda McCready was four-years-old when she vanished from her Boston home. The police were short on clues and the people her mother associated with weren't the kind to talk to cops. Amanda's aunt, Bea McCready, hired private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro to find her; which they did.  Now, twelve years later, Amanda is sixteen and missing again. Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro are forced to question if it's possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong.

Moonlight Mile, the sixth book in the series, is Lehane's first Kenzie/Gennaro book since 1999's Prayers for Rain and a direct sequel to 1998's Gone, Baby, Gone.  Kenzie and Gennaro are now married and have a four-year-old daughter of their own. Angie is retired from the detective game, spending most of her time as a stay-at-home mom, but going to night school to get a degree. They closed their office and Patrick is now bucking for a job at a prestigious Boston investigations firm. They're older, wearier, and tired of seeing good people get screwed.

With it's parallels to Gone, Baby, Gone, it's hard to discuss the book without spoilers, so consider this a spoiler alert.

Amanda's mother was an unfit parent who left the four-year-old alone as she went out to get drunk and do drugs. She left her daughter alone in a car so hot that it left little Amanda with second degree burns over most of her body. Her uncle, Lionel, talked to a detective he knew, and they kidnapped Amanda and sent her to live with a police captain and his wife. Patrick found the girl and, despite his misgivings, returned her to her mother. Amanda was kidnapped to give her a better life, but it was still kidnapping.

In Moonlight Mile, Amanda herself is doing what Patrick could not. This time, she disappeared because she kidnapped the infant daughter of a Russian mobster and his crazy Mexican wife. She did what her Uncle Lionel did: take an innocent child from horrible parents in order to give her a better life. There are some highly charged conversations late in the book between Patrick and Amanda where Patrick explains to her why he did what he did. Lehane hasn't lost the ability to tap into Patrick's heart and show us the suffering he endures by being a heroic knight in a fallen world.

I will say, though, I was disappointed a bit with Angie's role in the story, and I thought the denouement was a little too convenient.  Still, it was nice to spend time with the duo again, and Lehane's descriptive powers of a New England winter are beyond peer.  The whole Kenzie & Gennaro series is well worth your time.

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