First, I have to admit I am a bit biased when it comes to books by Dennis Lehane. He is one of my favorite authors, and he is one heck of a nice guy. At least he was when I met him at a writer’s conference many moons ago. This was before Shutter Island – in fact he was writing that book at the time – and when Mystic River was in production for film. He’s had a lot more success since then, so that may have puffed up his ego, but I suspect not.
Moonlight Mile does not have the depth of character and storyline as Mystic River, which is my favorite Lehane book, but it does bring back Patrick Kenzie and his wife, Angie Gennaro, as well as a bit of their past they would like to forget.
Twelve years ago when Patrick located missing 4-year-old Amanda McCready and returned her to her neglectful mother, even though she would’ve been better off with her kidnappers, he was sure he was doing the right thing. (this was the case featured in Gone, Baby, Gone) Angie disagreed with his decision and that case tore the couple apart.
Fast forward to present time and Patrick is barely scraping by as a freelance PI, with a daughter of his own. When Patrick learns that Amanda McCready has gone missing, he is pulled into a case that involves the Russian mob and some very nasty people. Again, Patrick and Angie are faced with having to make tough decisions and ask themselves if it is possible to do the right thing, yet still be wrong.
As a fan of Patrick and Angie through all of the previous 5 books that featured them, I enjoyed reading their banter, and I smiled when I read some of Patrick’s funny lines. The little bits between him and his daughter, Gabby, were priceless.
Those who have only read Mystic River or Shutter Island might be disappointed that this is a much lighter read on some levels, but it does have enough danger and suspense to keep a reader engaged. And the tough decisions Patrick has to make can’t help but make us stop and think about tough decisions we all have to make. Granted, most of us are not doing that facing life and death situations, but the ethical question of what is the right thing on legal levels that can be so terrible wrong is one that applies to many situations.
While this may not the best work Lehane has done when compared to his bigger novels, it is certainly some good work and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
FTC Disclaimer – I purchased this book, so Dennis does not even know I had it or planned to write a review. He probably does not even remember me or the conversations we had at the bar in Omaha, either. So there was no money slipped under any table to prompt me to write a favorable review.