Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review: "Moonlight Mile" by Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane is easily one of my favorite authors, and his series with PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro is truly superlative. (If you're one of the few who never saw Mystic River, that is Lehane's finest stand-alone novel.) With Moonlight Mile, Lehane brings back Patrick and Angie after a 10-year absence, and their lives have moved on since the conclusion of Prayers for Rain, the last novel he wrote featuring them. They're now married and raising their four-year-old daughter, while Patrick is still scraping by as a private investigator, barely able to make ends meet.

Their most emotionally fractious case was investigating the disappearance of four-year-old Amanda McCready 12 years ago (the core of Gone Baby Gone); the resolution of that case still remains the unspoken issue in their relationship. One day, Patrick is visited by Amanda's aunt, Bea, who tells him that Amanda has once again disappeared. And once again, Patrick and Angie get caught up in the search for Amanda, yet 12 years later, the stakes are higher, the violence and danger has escalated, and the number of people affected has grown exponentially.

Sequels—especially of books you love—always pose a delicate dilemma. Will the author be able to recapture the magic of the last book? Will the characters, action, plot seem fresh and original or just tired retreads? While Moonlight Mile isn't Lehane's finest book and it doesn't quite crackle with the tautness his previous books featuring Patrick and Angie did, it's very good. (While it's helpful to have read Gone Baby Gone, it certainly helps frame things for you.) This book certainly reinforced how much I've missed reading about Patrick and Angie, and how dynamic a partnership they are. And just like Lehane's other books, I read it far, far too fast (in one day thanks to a bout of insomnia), and now lament that it may be a long while before the next one. Sigh.

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