Dennis Lehane

Moonlight Mile

"Moonlight Mile is the work of a man confident in his skill-set and willing to both use and flout the conventions of modern crime writing."


Sixteen-year-old Amanda McCready has gone missing. Her worried aunt contacts Patrick Kenzie to investigate. It is not the first time she has disappeared, as Patrick well knows - he investigated on her case when she was kidnapped before, as a four-year-old.

This is not however, a simple case of a runaway girl. In fact, nothing in Amanda's life has been simple: brought up by someone who would easily qualify as the world's worst mother, neglected throughout her childhood, she has nonetheless grown into a formidably intelligent young woman. A young woman so bright that she can seemingly out-think and out-manoeuvre her teachers, the authorities and the Russian Mafia.

For Patrick, the case leads him down Boston's darkest, most dangerous streets and into a world of shocking secrets that will threaten not only Amanda's life, but also his own and that of his partner Angie Gennaro.

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Those of you familiar with Dennis Lehane's work will instantly recognise the case of the young child who went missing as described in Gone Baby Gone: the book that was made into a movie by Ben Affleck. Lehane brings these characters bang up to date in Moonlight Mile and as luck - and life - would have it, the happy-ever-after ending has been somewhat derailed. For newbies, there is no need to worry about not having read previous books in the series, as Lehane cleverly gets you up to speed without allowing the possible drag of backstory. Patrick and Angie have aged in real time and the life issues they face are the same ones as the rest of us at that stage of your life. Issues that are of course heightened by the presence of some very dangerous people. Doing the Right Thing is very much the setting for Patrick's moral compass: a character trait that allows Lehane to manipulate his reader and have them internally debate the shades of gray this ethical stance produces. Patrick continually justifies his actions of more than a decade ago, but the presence of Amanda and how her life has progressed flies in the face of this. Setting the book in the present day also allows Lehane the opportunity to partake in a bout of social commentary. The aftermath of the credit crunch has left a lot of people disorientated and fearful. This situation is highlighted beautifully in a scene where Patrick and Angie go looking for Amanda and stakeout a local dog-park: the reactions to them by the dog-owners perhaps symptomatic of the viewpoint of America's silent majority. Moonlight Mile is the work of a man confident in his skill-set and willing to both use and flout the conventions of modern crime writing. While providing issues for you to get your teeth into, the pace never sags, the prose is as tasty as your favourite cup-cake and the dialogue is a continual delight. What's keeping you? Go buy a copy, already.

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