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Bookmarks Issue: 
50-Jan-Feb-2011
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A-Moonlight MileDennis Lehane, the author of nine novels, is perhaps best known for his standalone works, including Mystic River (2001). But through five novels, he has introduced the popular Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, last seen over a decade ago in Prayers for Rain (1999). Moonlight Mile continues the story introduced in Gone, Baby, Gone (1998). Spoiler alert below: Moonlight Mile reveals the denouement to that earlier book.

The Story: In Gone, Baby, Gone, four-year-old Amanda McCready was abducted from her Boston neighborhood. Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro did everything they could to find her, and when she resurfaced, Kenzie--now married to Gennaro and with a young daughter of their own--agonized over whether to return her to her neglectful, druggie mother. The decision still haunts him. Suddenly Amanda, now 16 and an honor student, disappears once again. Guided by his conscience, Kenzie vows to find her--even if it means entering a dark underworld and revisiting the difficult moral choices he faced more than a decade ago.
William Morrow. 336 pages. $26.99. ISBN: 9780061836923

Cleveland Plain Dealer 4 of 5 Stars
"Lehane keeps the reader entertained with his signature, quick-draw observations: a trophy wife ‘was attractive the way sports bar hostesses and pharmaceutical reps are.' He alternates the suspense with poignant glimpses of domesticity, and the beauty of everyday life." Michele Ross

Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars
"You always learn something new when reading Lehane. Here, he'll have you flipping pages as fast as you can, loving the pace and danger, all the while pondering how far your own moral compass might wobble away from true north under the right circumstances." Joy Tipping

Denver Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Moonlight Mile is everything that Lehane readers have come to expect: a tight story filliped with unexpected turns, delivered in prose that goes down easily. ... [Patrick and Angie] are addicting characters with a world of adventure, and developing lives, in front of them." Robin Vidimos

New York Times 4 of 5 Stars
"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. ... [Amanda is] also so old beyond her years that she has managed to get herself into some very adult difficulties, troubles that would sound wildly contrived if Mr. Lehane weren't so good at imagining the patois of ... gangsters and thugs." Janet Maslin

South FL Sun-Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"Moonlight Mile is a quieter outing than Lehane's previous novels in this series, but no less gripping. Lehane delivers an emotional story that connects with the characters' capacity to grow." Oline H. Cogdill

Entertainment Weekly 3 of 5 Stars
"The search takes us on a tour of local grotesqueries (identity thieves who live in gated communities, Blu-ray-obsessed Russian mobsters), but Lehane's plotting starts to wander midway. Gone ended on a note of frustrating but satisfying ambiguity; Mile just grows more frustrating by the page." Darren Franich

Los Angeles Times 3 of 5 Stars
"Moonlight Mile is akin to that 10th-anniversary school reunion: old acquaintances to catch up with, old enemies to ignore or reevaluate, and lots of alcohol served up at the cash bar across the room. After the festivities end, it's time to get on with the business of day-to-day adulthood--and for Lehane to continue the forward motion promised by his most recent, more ambitious works." Sarah Weinman

Critical Summary

Although Lehane revives a storyline more than a decade old, most critics thought that Moonlight Mile offers a fresh take on the moral dilemmas that Kenzie and Gennaro grappled with in Gone, Baby, Gone. Kenzie, for example, has long lived with the choices he made and here has the opportunity to reconsider--even rectify--their long-lasting consequences. Lehane writes with his trademark streetwise wit, and the story hums along, even with some improbable characters and events. A couple of reviewers felt that "revisiting Patrick and Angie is less evolution than reanimation" (Los Angeles Times) and complained of some loose plotting. But the majority agreed with the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Here is a fervent hope that Lehane will continue this series."