Thursday, December 9, 2010

Moonlight Mile - Dennis Lehane

Summary:  Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished form a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago.  Desperate please for help from the child's aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case.  The pair risk everything to find the young girl--only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen--and gone again.  A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing.  Yet Amanda's aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie's door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman--a woman who hasn't been seen in weeks. 

Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most.  Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster.  It's a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.

In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be 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.  As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don't always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.  (Summary from book - Image from - Book given free for review)

My Review:  Moonlight Mile graced the Indiebound Next List for November 2010, which ordinarily holds a lot of sway with me and was the reason I freaked when it popped up unexpectedly in my mailbox.

According to, Moonlight Mile is a direct sequel to Prayers for Rain (1999), but is closely linked to the story in Gone Baby Gone (1998). I am going to have to take their word for it, because I haven’t read either. While the main characters and several secondary ones from the previous books reappear in Moonlight Mile, I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to read the previous books to understand this one. However, I did feel like I was missing the immediate connection with the characters that someone would have had who had read them chronologically. I didn’t I know much more about the characters at the end of the story than I did at the beginning. Sure, Kenzie has a dry sense of humor, and Gennaro smokes when she’s nervous, but other than that, I can’t come up with much and felt there was more character development in the last several pages than in the entire book.

I also believe that the above summary is insanely overstated. Sure, those things happened, but it wasn’t as remarkable the book jacket claims. I was interested in the story, but I didn’t have a problem putting this book down when necessary.

While Moonlight Mile sits on several surprises, and Kenzie delivers some hysterical one-liners, he and the rest of the characters, had mouths that could put a sailor to shame. Ordinarily swearing doesn’t bother me in a book unless it becomes excessive. It was irritating by the end of the first chapter and excessive not far beyond that.

I believe this book is designed to attract those readers who loved the previous books and want to revisit the characters (a la Bree Tanner for the Twihards).  Since I've never read a Lehane book before, let alone one with these characters, I'm not sure how this novel will sit with fans.  I don’t know how large a part Gennaro played in the last book, but I suspect fans of her character will be disappointed with her diminished role in this book, and with Moonlight Mile in general.

My Rating: 2.5 Stars. For the sensitive reader: If I could simply ignore the ubiquitous amount of swearing in this book, then I would probably say it was 3 star book (maybe), but I can’t. There was a lot. There were also several descriptions of cold-blooded murder and an accidental (but gory) death.

Sum it up: Not the best first impression. I still love Indiebound, but the next book I read off their list better be a-mazing.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I was not overly impressed by this LeHane book, and I am a fan.

MindySue said...

Ah! VALIDATION! Thanks. Every once in a while it's nice to hear that people agree with you.


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