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Posts Tagged ‘Angela Gennaro’

MOONLIGHT MILE by Dennis Lehane: Book Review

Dennis Lehane is one of the few contemporary mystery novelists whose books have been made into successful films.  Think Shutter Island, Mystic River, and the novel that precedes Moonlight Mile–Gone, Baby, Gone.

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro were the investigators in Gone, Baby, Gone. They found four-year-old Amanda McCready, who had been taken from her neglectful mother and was living with a loving couple who desperately wanted to keep her.  The problem was, little Amanda had been abducted, not taken legally via the Massachusetts Department of Social Services, and at the end of G,B,G the investigators were faced with a heart-wrenching decision–to keep Amanda in her new, caring home or return her to her drug-addicted mother.

Kenzie’s decision to return the girl to her mother caused the breakup of his relationship with Gennaro.  As Moonlight Mile opens, it’s twelve years later and Kenzie and Gennaro have reconciled, married, and are the parents of their own four-year-old daughter, Gabriella. They are struggling financially, as Kenzie is now the sole breadwinner while Gennaro has returned to school and is almost finished with her master’s in social work.  Then they get a call from Amanda’s aunt–the girl is missing again and the police aren’t interested in doing anything about it.

Much against Kenzie’s better judgment, he and his wife are again pressed into looking for the missing girl.  Amanda has seemingly turned her life around and is an outstanding student at a prestigious private school, but she is an aloof, hard-shelled girl whom no one seems to know.  And her mother is involved with another criminal type and not very interested in finding out what has happened to her daughter.

The case gets more involved than simply finding Amanda, as Kenzie and Gennaro apparently aren’t the only ones looking for her. Amanda’s best/only friend, Sophie, is also missing, and neither Sophie’s self-righteous father nor Amanda’s social worker, Dre Stiles, seems to have a clue as to the whereabouts of the girls.  And then a group of Russian mobsters enters the picture, determined to find Amanda, Sophie, and an antique cross of great interest to the boss of the mob.

Kenzie is still dealing with the issues from the twelve-year-old kidnapping case.  He believes he did the right thing by returning the child to her mother, although Gennaro strongly disagrees with him.  Can one do what he thinks is morally right and still be haunted by that decision? Would Amanda have been better served by leaving her with the people who would have been “better” parents, or would she have grown up and always wondered where her “real” mother was?  That decision affected not only Amanda but also the man and woman who took her in and her own aunt and uncle who placed her with them.

In Moonlight Mile Lehane explores these ideas, plus the reality of living in today’s economy. The Kenzie/Gennaro family lives from paycheck to paycheck, and Kenzie must weigh the appeal of accepting a secure job that means working for people only concerned with the bottom line or continuing to worry daily about finances and his family’s financial well-being.

As always, Dennis Lehane has crafted a fast-paced, realistic story about modern life, crimes past and present, and how the decisions of years ago impact on life today.

You can read more about Dennis Lehane at his web site.