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"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.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 5, 2011
First Sentence: On a bright, unseasonably warm afternoon in early December, Brandon Trescott walked out of the spa at the Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod and got into a taxi.

Eleven years ago, Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro found kidnapped Amanda McCredy and, following the law, returned her to her neglectful mother. Now, at 16, Amanda has disappeared again and her aunt re-hires Kenzie and Gennaro to find her. A missing-person case quickly escalates to one involving identity theft, drugs, a priceless cross, Russian gangsters and a threat on Patrick's family.

It is very nice to have back the characters that brought Lehane to forefront of mystery writing. It is also nice that their lives have evolved and that they are parents of a quite realistic, four-year old daughter. I enjoyed having back Bubba, one of the best psychotic sidekicks ever, but his role felt a bit as though it was playing homage to Robert B. Parker's characters of Hawk to Susan; protector but not participant. While Amanda had dimension and strength, others seemed flat and bordering on stereotypical.

Lehane does have a great voice which carries over to a natural ear for dialogue and his evocative descriptions set the mood and sense of place''The trees were bare', and cold air off the ocean hunted the gaps in my clothes.' The plot was page-turning with some very well-done, unexpected twists, climax felt over the top, and I did like the ending. Lehane does again address the struggle between doing what is legally correct versus morally correct and who has the right to make that decision.

Reading this book was interesting. When I read 'A Drink Before the War,' the first book in the series, it was coup de foudre; that lightning strike you may experience when meeting someone wonderful for the first time. Eleven years on, the lightning bolt is gone, but there is still enough of a tingle to say I did enjoy the book.

MOONLIGHT MILE (PI-Patrick Kenzie/Angie Gennaro-Massachusetts-Cont) ' Good
Lehane, Dennis ' 6th in series
Wm. Morrow, ©2010, US Hardcover ' ISBN: 9780061836923
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