Kemper's Reviews > Moonlight Mile

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
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May 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: detectives, crime-mystery

If Dennis Lehane would have ripped off Charles Dickens and started this novel with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” it would have been fitting.

It’s been eleven years since Lehane seemingly left his detective series starring Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro behind to do stand-alone novels and work on HBO’s The Wire. The last decade has been both good and bad to the couple. The economic collapse has hit them hard, and Patrick has been forced to do free-lance work for a large investigation firm that has him doing the bidding of various rich asshats. But if their professional lives aren’t great, at least things are going well on the domestic front except for worrying about how they’ll pay the bills.

In the midst of their economic crisis, an old case comes back to haunt them. In Gone Baby Gone, Patrick and Angie went looking for missing four year old Amanda, and by the end of it, they faced some of the toughest decisions of their lives. Now they’re going to have to deal with the consequences of those choices.

(That’s all the summary I’m going to give, and I’d caution anyone interested in this book to not read any kind of plot synopsis of this unless you’ve read Gone Baby Gone or seen the movie. Even the book flap for Moonlight Mile gives away a big piece of that ending. You have been warned.)

It felt incredibly good to be reading a new Patrick and Angie story, and Lehane used some of the work he’s done since to build a richer and deeper story for the pair. The influence of his time on The Wire shows in that one of the biggest villains in this book is a depressed economy. Lehane makes some poignant points about financial desperation and how it impacts everyone in a variety of ways.

This backdrop also fits an aging and moodier Patrick. Twenty years as a detective have taken their toll, and he’s increasingly disgusted with all the large and small ways that people can screw each other over.

This reads as a swan song for Patrick and Angie, and it’s pretty damn good. Not perfect. I’d have liked more Angie in the story, but there are reasons she doesn’t get more of the action this time. If this is the final book, then Lehane wrote a tender and touching farewell to Patrick and Angie that gives a satisfying ending to their series.

Oh, and just in case you’re worried that it’s all social commentary and brooding about regrets, Bubba is still around. And he still gets all the best lines like, “I’ll shoot you just for being short.”
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Reading Progress

11/03/2010 page 110
34.0% "Lehane's time writing for The Wire is showing here and it's working well..."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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James Thane I love this series and am glad Lehane returned to it. I'm really anxious to get to this book and may even leapfrog it over the 25 or 30 other books I have stacked up that I'm anxious to get to.


Kemper James wrote: "I love this series and am glad Lehane returned to it. I'm really anxious to get to this book and may even leapfrog it over the 25 or 30 other books I have stacked up that I'm anxious to get to."

I have a couple of tall too-read stacks going at the moment, but I dropped everything and got this the day it came out. Sadly, it's not long and a very fast read so it was over all too soon.


message 3: by Martha (new)

Martha Flanagan It isn't really correct to credit a destroyed economy in The Wire to Lehane. The creators of the series had much more hands on and professional experience of this issue.


Kemper Martha wrote: "It isn't really correct to credit a destroyed economy in The Wire to Lehane. The creators of the series had much more hands on and professional experience of this issue."

I didn't credit the destroyed economy on The Wire to Lehane. What I said was:

"....and Lehane used some of the work he’s done since to build a richer and deeper story for the pair. The influence of his time on The Wire shows in that one of the biggest villains in this book is a depressed economy."

My meaning being that Lehane being part of the writing staff with David Simon and Ed Burns as well as other crime writers like George Pelecanos and Richard Price had an influence on his own solo work later.


message 5: by Martha (new)

Martha Flanagan I stand corrected.


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