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Moonlight Mile: A Kenzie and Gennaro Novel (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series) Mass Market Paperback – July 26, 2011
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2010: It’s tough going for a good man in a messed-up world, particularly in Dennis Lehane's Boston. Patrick Kenzie knows he did the right thing twelve years ago (during the events in Gone, Baby, Gone) when he located missing 4-year-old Amanda McCready and returned her to her neglectful mother, even though she would’ve been better off with her kidnappers. That doesn’t mean he’s had an easy time living with his decision. In Moonlight Mile, Patrick is still scraping by as a freelance PI, but now he’s married to his former partner Angie Gennaro and with a daughter of his own. When Patrick learns that once again Amanda McCready’s gone missing, his conscience gets the better of him and he's soon on the trail of the enigmatic 16-year-old, only to discover that the moral complexity of his work has not lessened with time. And neither has Lehane's talent as a top-notch crime writer. Much like a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee, Lehane never fails to satisfy and the latest Patrick and Angie story is no less addictive. --Shane Hansanuwat --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
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.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Now, Amanda is missing again. Squaring off against the Russian mob and low-life hoods involved in drugs, identity theft, and dark, cruel secrets, Patrick and Angie, now married and parents to a four-year old daughter, are forcibly dragged back into Boston’s underworld to find her.
Moonlight Mile marks a welcome return to the series-PI characters that made Dennis Lehane a force to be reckoned with in crime fiction. Absent for more than a decade (last seen in Prayers for Rain, 1999), the novel acts as a sequel to his much celebrated novel Gone, Baby, Gone. Time has moved on for both the characters, the readers who have been with them since the beginning of A Drink Before the War, and the writer who brought them to life back in 1994.
Meeting up with Patrick and Angie after all these years is like greeting an old, distant friend. There’s an unshakable connection to the past, a bond from events shared that were good, bad, and tragic. There’s also an undeniable maturation. As a writer, Lehane only gets stronger and the work he produces is raw, honest, and unflinching. In Patrick, now closing on 40, the ideals of youth, those hopes and dreams for the future, have long since been tempered by cynical realities.
The independent private-eye firm of Kenzie and Gennaro has long since been shuttered. Angie is balancing motherhood and pursuing her master’s degree. Patrick does investigative work for a big-money law firm, serving clients who have more dollars than sense. His current case involves tailing Brandon Trescott, a trust-fund baby whose last DUI left a woman brain-dead, so his rich parents can keep him protected not only from the victim’s family but, more importantly, justice. Kenzie carries a blue-collar chip on his shoulder, and working for the rich and entitled is burning a hole in his stomach. The promise of financial stability for him and his new family are the only reason he keeps going.
Lehane has always been at his strongest in examining the ills of society through the lens of crime fiction. In Midnight Mile, he casts his eye towards the sense of entitlement and angry disillusionment that has swept over America. The corporate rich pump toxins into the water supply of small-town America, and the workers ready to whistle-blow are arrested for stealing company secrets, fined millions of dollars, and left to rot in destitution. Rich snobs like Trescott are free to wander the streets while their victims lay in hospital beds, breathing through a machine. They can rest easy because they have money, and money buys security. Meanwhile, houses are left empty in the wake of the mortgage crisis, their working-class owners evicted into the streets, left broken and hungry, with no golden parachute to help break their fall.
The American dream has been sold at cost, leaving behind a generation that believes they should just be handed whatever they want. Kenzie knows he’s on the wrong side of it all and sees this shift in American society where the entitlement of the rich and spoiled are corrupting everything in true trickle-down fashion. The McCready case is his last opportunity for atonement, for the past decisions he made on behalf of Amanda, and for the selling of his soul to a law firm that embodies all of the problems with our current society.
Although Kenzie is the filter for Lehane to speak out on the problems of American culture today, the story comes first. The page-turner plot moves swiftly and never gets bogged down in high-minded preachiness, the way John Grisham or, to a certain extent, Dean Koontz novels have tended towards in recent years. The dialog is sharp, and although Lehane has been away from Patrick and Angie for a while, he clearly had no trouble recapturing the wit and verve that bring these characters to life. Moonlight Mile smoothly reintroduces Patrick and Angie, and, should this be their last hurrah, sends them off into the night with ample closure, ending the series on a high note.
"Moonlight Mile": how many stories has this haunting Rolling Stones ballad inspired? Dennis Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro tales always wear their rock-and-roll hearts on their sleeves while carrying Judeo-Christian ethics in their souls. Here, Lehane revisits his protagonists twelve years after Patrick Kenzie made the decision that tore asunder his love affair with Angie Gennaro at the end of "Gone Baby Gone"--the decision to return four-year-old Amanda McCready from her loving kidnappers to her criminally negligent biological mother. Amanda, now sixteen, has gone missing again and her aunt asks Patrick once again to find her.
In the earlier books, published in the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Patrick and Angie, an attractive, carefree young pair, romped confidently through their adventures, dealing with personal demons and experiencing heartache and horror to be sure, but never truly frightened for themselves. This time around, Patrick struggles in a ravaged economy to support his now-wife Angie, who is finishing graduate school, and their four-year-old daughter. He mixes independent PI gigs and contract work for a multi-national investigative firm that eats his conscience while it pays enough for him to feed his family, keep a roof over their heads, and buy ridiculously expensive but necessary health insurance. Looking for Amanda is not a paid job, but Patrick reluctantly agrees to spend a few days on it. Meanwhile he hopes, reluctantly, that the big investigative firm whose corporate clients he abhors will take him on as a salaried employee so he and Angie can enjoy some financial security. The investigation of Amanda's disappearance leads him into the 21st century world of Russian gangs, cyber-crime and baby-selling rackets.
The strong writing, page-turning plot, compassion and humor we expect from Lehane are here, as is the gruesome but never gratuitous violence, but with Patrick and Angie pinching pennies and worrying about their daughter, just like most middle-class couples with children, this outing may be less pleasing to readers who look to detective fiction for escapism. I docked a star because I found the actual crime-and-investigation part of the story too far-fetched, but I enjoyed seeing Patrick and Angie grow up, and found the ending of "Moonlight Mile" a fitting conclusion to the series.
Most recent customer reviews
A nine to five investigator job to support their
four year old daughter.Read more
Dennis Lehane is a terrific writer, with a great ear for dialogue, a penchant for strong story lines and we'll-observed characters.Read more