Posts Tagged ‘Gone Baby Gone’

A child went missing, people died, and hearts were broken in Dennis Lehane’s haunting 1998 novel, Gone, Baby, Gone.

 Readers familiar with the book and/or the fine movie adaptation know that detective Patrick Kenzie’s wrenching decision to return 4-year-old Amanda McCready to her neglectful mother wasn’t cause for celebration. It split his professional and romantic partnership with Angie Gennaro, although the two warily reunited in 1999’s Prayers for Rain, the fifth book in the series.

 And that’s where Lehane left them, while he moved on to Mystic River, Shutter Island, This Given Day, short stories and writing for TV’s The Wire. Readers begged for more Patrick and Angie, but in repeated interviews Lehane pretty much shut the door on a sequel. Now as the Stones put it, down the road, “and the wind blows.” Patrick hears a knocking from the past and gets a a second chance for redemption.

Amanda, now a 16-year-old loner with plenty of smarts, has vanished again, and her aunt wants Patrick and Angie to find her. Yep, they’re married, with a cute four-year-old daughter, a small house on a decent street, and a pile of bills. Angie’s finishing grad school, and Patrick’s free-lancing investigations for a corporate firm. If he doesn’t keep pissing off clients, he might get on full-time. Ah, the recessions’s American dream — a job with benefits.

Lehane’s adept at using his crime stories as social commentary, and 2010 Boston gives him plenty to riff on: foreclosures, homelessness, more poverty, crime and class resentment as Patrick and Angie hunt for Amanda. Their own small happiness makes them more vulnerable to the villains: misguided parents, opportunistic crooks, a bevy of Russian mobsters. Good thing old pal Bubba’s got their backs. Still, you know Patrick’s moral compass — and his body — are going to take another beat-down. And resolutions don’t necessarily equate to happy endings.

Moonlight Mile is a gift for Lehane’s fans, right up there with Gone, Baby, Gone. Enjoy, because I don’t expect another sequel.

Open Book: I’ve been reviewing Dennis Lehane’s books since 1994, when Florida writer Jim Hall tipped me off to a recent Eckerd College grad’s first novel, A Drink Before the War,  the first Patrick & Angie. Dennis is also one of my favorite authors to interview. His publicist sent me an ARC of Moonlight Mile (William Morrow) earlier this year; I’ve read it twice already, and reread Gone, Baby, Gone in between.

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