In the late nineties, a 4-year-old girl disappeared from her home in a Boston suburb. Investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro worked overtime to locate and retrieve her. Now, a dozen years later, Amanda has vanished again and Kenzie and Gennaro are back on the trail. As they assess the case, they become convinced that the old case holds clues to the new one. Moonlight Mile is the explosive standalone sequel to Dennis Lehane's Gone, Baby, Gone (9780061336218), which received high marks from general readers and reviewers.
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.)
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
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 hisMystic River(2001) and then made a major literary leap withThe Given Day(2008), the author had built a loyal fan base through a series of detective novels featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. In this sequel toGone, Baby, Gone(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.
Lehane's writing mixes the streetwise and the lyrical…In the decade between the last Kenzie-Gennaro book and this one, Lehane has made quantum leaps as a craftsman…In returning to his old private eye series now, Lehane has narrowed his scope a little: The social commentary is less nuanced, more direct, and plot twists are more prominent than deep moral predicaments. Still, Moonlight Mile should hardly be considered a step back. Instead, Lehane is a writer bringing new confidence and an easy prowess to a new chapter in an epic storythe Kenzie-Gennaro saga.
The Washington Post
What…keep[s] Moonlight Mile from heading down an overly well-trodden path…[is] the conviction with which Mr. Lehane breathes life into these characters. Unlike the usual sequel writer who simply puts old creations through new paces, Mr. Lehane registers a deep affection for the Kenzie-Gennaro team and a passionate involvement in their problems. And he treats each book in this series as an occasion for wondering what kind of world can produce the depravity that each new plotline describes.
The New York Times