Posts Tagged ‘Moonlight Mile’

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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My mother’s been visiting for three days and already has read four books, two of which — Kathy Reichs’ Spider Bones and Nicolle Wallace’s Eighteen Acres — are still on my TBR list. As for me, I finished re-reading Dennis Lehane’s Gone, Baby, Gone and the terrific new sequel, Moonlight Mile, but haven’t gotten around to blogging about them because I’ve been too busy reading about books.

Some days are like that, I told a class of UCF journalism students last night. I spend the day on the net, which is the now and future of book reviewing and reporting, as every article on the nervous state of publishing seems to believe. I start my morning with the wonderful  “Shelf Awareness,” which appears in my inbox, along with the recommended “The Daily Dose” from Powell’s Books, then move on to Facebook and Twitter. I update the nook’s Daily and check out bn.com’s Deal of the Day.

 Today, after reading reviews of the newspaper novel Rogue Island in the Washington Post and Antonia Fraser’s Must You Go, about her marriage to Harold Pinter, at NPR, I downloaded samples of both books to the nook for further consideration. Those samples joined about a dozen others. I pre-ordered Nora Ephron’s new collection. I checked in on some of my favorite blogs and commented on a post on “Moby Lives” about judging book awards. I took a survey on NPR’s book coverage. While at the NPR site, I listened to Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians, reading from one of my all-time favorites, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, which I reread a couple months ago. (Even as the new books stack up, I’ve vowed to do more reading from my older books, shopping my shelves, so to speak).

I signed in at NetGalley and spent awhile looking at what books are coming out in early 2011. I entered a book giveaway contest sponsored by Crown Publishing on Facebook because The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer reminds me how much I like playing with scissors if I ever stop reading long enough to do some art projects. I saw the New York Times “Paper Cuts” blogged about John Fowles’ The Tree, which I wrote about last week. The old reporter in me rejoiced at my “scoop.”

Then I looked at the TBR stack that Mom has been whittling away on. I picked up John le Carre’s Our Kind of Traitor, read three pages and fell asleep — not because the book is boring but because I needed one of my twice-daily naps. Mom kept on reading. And she’s reading now, although I’ve assured her that she can take the book home with her to S.C. in the morning. I’ll read it when I come up in December.

I started writing this because I couldn’t bear watching election results. A friend has just called with condolences. Time to go to bed. Like the sun, the TBR books will be there in the morning. Tomorrow is another page. . .

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