Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child's aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda's aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie's door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn't been seen in weeks.

In November I wrote a post about my love for reading thrillers but my disgust at the blood-and-guts they usually contain.  Several readers recommended their favorite non-gory page turners, including Mrs. Bumble's suggestion that I try Dennis Lehane.  Lehane's latest arrived at the library just days later, so I called Librarian Dibs* and took it home. 

 And she was right!  The plot centers around a moral dilemma - to do what is right or what is lawful - and the guilt and regrets that accompany the decision.  Originally, McKenzie chose the law (in 1998's Gone, Baby, Gone) but this time around he has twelve years of recriminations, and a child of his own, to sway his perspective.   As a P.I., he has danced around danger like a prizefighter, always able to duck away at the last moment and avoid the punch, but the weight of age and responsibility slows his step.  The choice this time around is not a textbook scenario of compassion versus legality, but a question of moral right versus his family's safety.

I have not read Gone, Baby, Gone, or any of the other previous McKenzie/Gennaro mysteries, but I was able to pick up the backstory easily enough.  However, I would recommend reading them in order just for a better contrast between the attitudes during various stages of life, which I thought was the most intrigueing part of the story. 

This book is not totally violence free, but it was kept to a minimum, related sparingly and, most importantly, was necessary to the plot.  Thanks again, Mrs. Bumbles, for a great recommendation.

*Library Dibs = my self-assigned right to all library materials before they are available for public use.

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