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Act Two for Gone, Baby, Gone and Deep Cynicism for the State of the Nation in 2010
on January 11, 2011
"Then the men said to Lot, 'Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city--take them out of this place!'" -- Genesis 19:12 (NKJV)
Moonlight Mile reminds me of the dialogues in Plato's Republic because of its focus on the philosophical question of what is the moral thing to do when money and power make practical right in society's terms. The mystery story clearly takes second place in priority behind the desire to condemn today's selfish society and its insensitive "rules" for how to behave.
Patrick's Kenzie's knee-jerk reactions are to find a good paying job to support his financially struggling family (wife and former PI partner Angie Gennaro and their young daughter, Gabby) . . . even if the clients are often scumbags and to answer a second call to find the missing Amanda Macready, despite the lack of any financial reward for doing so. Is this any way to live? Yes, if you want to meet your desire to live with integrity. Amanda has had a bad life because Patrick found her as a four-year-old who had been "kidnapped" to save her from a bad mother.
It's an interesting starting point that could have led to a powerful story, but unfortunately the story doesn't live up to the premise. Many of the characters, especially Amanda and the various mobsters, don't ring true . . . further undercutting the book's potential appeal.
What will Patrick do in the end? That's the real mystery in this story. Stick around to the end, and you'll find out what Dennis Lehane proposes as his solution to the compromises of today's society. I wasn't overly impressed. See what you think.