Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moonlight Mile

Rating: 3 out of 5 Acelas

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child's aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked 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.

I was introduced to Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro just before the movie of Gone, Baby, Gone came out a few years ago. The movie is great and sticks to the book really well. These books and these characters are exciting and just fantastic. Patrick is a smart-ass and Angie is a hardened, beautiful, Italian. They make a great team. One thing the movie did not do well that the books do is show the chemistry between the two and the great dialogue you get in the books was not present in the movie. That book raised an ethical question at the end that was very poignant to me. I won't spoil anything for those of you who have not read the book or the movie.

This book plays as a direct sequel to Gone, Baby, Gone because it deals with the same characters. Amanda McCready is missing again, but now she is sixteen years old and incredibly intelligent and bright. Patrick and Angie are older now and have fallen into a life of complacency and parenthood. Somewhere along the break since we last saw them they got married and had a child. This is a nice change and it makes the stakes even higher for them when their family is threatened.

I'm going to compare this book to the ones that came before it. When I do that, it doesn't really do very well. The story line gets a little fuzzy at times and I'm not sure what details were really necessary. And there were some weird little political statements inserted in there that I'm not sure were not entirely the author's voice coming through. Whatever they were they kind of bugged me. The Patrick Kenzie I had gotten acquainted with in the other books did not whine as much about technology and change. That being said, some of the things Patrick said were really funny and so very true.

When you don't compare this book to the others it is a great book. It has a good message to it and there is enough action to make it exciting. Patrick's banter is entertaining also.

I may have to read them all in a row again just so I can see if more things will make sense. I am saddened by the ending of this book because it may mean the end of Kenzie-Gennaro adventures. Here's to hoping that something will pull them out of their retirement. I do recommend Dennis Lehane and especially these books starting with A Drink Before the War to anyone who likes their crime drama gritty, full of action, and a little dark at times. I gave it three out of five Acelas.

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