December 7, 2010

Moonlight Mile

Jenclair wins a copy of this book!

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
2010 William Morrow
Finished 11/10/10
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
FTC Disclosure: Acquired from Shelf Awareness

I am just living to be lying by your side
But I'm just about a moonlight mile on
down the road
~ Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, "Moonlight Mile"

Angie wasn’t just my partner. She wasn’t just my best friend. And she wasn’t just my lover. She was all those things, sure, but she was far more. Ever since we made love the other night, it had begun to dawn on me that what lay between us—what in all probability had lain between us since we were children—wasn’t just special; it was sacred.

Angie was where most of me began and all of me ended.

Without her—without knowing where she was or how she was—I wasn’t merely half my usual self; I was a cipher. (from Sacred)

They’re back!!!!

It was eight years ago that I first fell in love with Kenzie and Gennaro. Immediately after finishing A Drink Before the War, I dove right into the subsequent sequels with little time between each. Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; and Prayers for Rain (the latter of which I believe is Lehane’s best work in this series) kept me entertained and I was heartbroken as I read the final pages, having learned that Lehane had decided to end the series.

I think Spade and Marlowe remain icons because they didn’t wear out their welcome. Would Chandler be Chandler if he'd written 18 Marlowe books? I don’t know, but I wonder. Maybe Chandler could have sustained the level of quality, but the issue is more whether I can. And I have my doubts about that. The only artsy, metaphysical aspect of my approach to writing is that I can only write about characters when they come knocking on the door and tell me to. Patrick and Angie stopped knocking after Prayers for Rain. If they come knocking again, I’ll open the door and welcome them in with open arms because, well, they paid for my house and I’m exceedingly grateful. But if they don’t, then I'll be content to let them live happily ever after without my dropping another case-from-hell in their laps. They deserve that. (Lehane, from The Drood Review interview in 2002)

Well, I guess he missed his wise-cracking characters (or they missed him!) just as much as his fans did, and I was thrilled to snag an ARC of Moonlight Mile from Shelf Awareness earlier this fall. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the book to be nearly as lyrical or suspenseful as previous books in this series. I only marked one passage, and only because Gabby sounds a little bit like our granddaughter. Nonetheless, it was fun to catch up with Patrick, Angie and Bubba, and now I’m tempted to go back and re-read the entire series.

On life’s burdens:

We came out of the dark of the tunnel into the late afternoon traffic as the girls sang and clapped their hands to the beat. Traffic was light, because it was Christmas Eve and most people had either not gone to work or had left early. The sky was purple tin. A few flakes of snow fell, but not enough to accumulate. My daughter squealed again and both Bubba and I winced. It’s not an attractive sound, that. It’s high-pitched and it enters your ear canals like hot glass. No matter how much I love my daughter, I will never love her squealing.

Or maybe I will.

Maybe I do.

Driving south on 93, I realized, once and for all, that I love the things that chafe. The things that fill me with stress so total I can’t remember when a block of it didn’t rest on top of my heart. I love what, if broken, can’t be repaired. What, if lost, can’t be replaced.

I love my burdens…

I’m a deeply flawed man who loves a deeply flawed woman and we gave birth to a beautiful child who, I fear, may never stop talking. Or squealing. My best friend is a borderline psychotic who has more sins on his ledger than whole street gangs and some governments. And yet…

Oh, yeah. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boson apartment in 1997. Desperate pleas for help from the child’s aunt led savvy, tough-nosed investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to have Kenzie 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 at Kenzie’s door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking bright young woman who hasn’t been seen in two weeks.

Haunted by the past, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most, following a twelve-year trail of secrets and lies down the darkest alleys of Boston’s gritty, blue-collar streets. Assuring themselves that this time will be different, they vow to make good on their promise to find Amanda and see that she is safe. But their determination to do the right thing holds dark implications Kenzie and Gennaro aren’t prepared for… consequences that could cost them not only Amanda’s life, but their own.

I’ll be curious to hear how others like this final installment in the Kenzie-Gennaro series. Leave me a comment, if you’re interested in my ARC. I’ll draw a name on December 13th.


  1. I have actually only read one of Dennis Lehane's books but I did enjoy that one.

    So if your giveaway is open worldwide, I would love to be entered.

    Thanks very much and have a happy and relaxing holiday time.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  2. I haven't read anything by LeHane, but I'd love to!

  3. As you know, I gave up on the series at the Gone Baby Gone time. Just couldn't read it, and never went on to the others. And even though I liked the first ones, they are more violent than I feel comfortable with. Interesting passage about loving what chafes. I don't think I get it. Or maybe I'm just not that way. Anyhow, a really great review, as always. You give your readers enough info so we can judge for ourselves if we want to read the book.

  4. I'm just zipping around the blogosphere, reminding bloggers...If you have read any wonderful literary books
    published in 2010, I urge you to nominate your favorites
    for The Independent Literary Awards. The awards
    include categories of Literary Fiction and Literary Non-Fiction.

    I'm especially interested in having some great nominees for nonfiction!

  5. I think I need to meet these characters in the beginning before I read this one!!

  6. I actually haven't read a Lehane novel before, if you can believe it. Would love to be entered in for this!

    coffeeandabookchick at gmail dot com

  7. Buddyt - It's open worldwide. I'm drawing the winner tonight. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Jenclair - Well, you may want to start at the beginning of this series, but I'll still throw your name in the hat. :)

    Nan - Yes, they are pretty violent. I'm reading another thriller right now and after the first chapter I told Rod, "This is definitely not something Nan would enjoy!" :)

    Readerbuzz - Thanks for the reminder! I think I missed the nomination period, though. I'll pop over later this evening.

    Staci - I can still throw your name in the hat so you can read the grand finale once you've caught up on the series. Lehane is very good!

    Coffee and a Book Chick - You're in! Now get started on Lehane's backlist! :)

  8. JenClair - You won the book. Please send your snail mail address to me at lscher at neb dot rr dot com and I'll get it off to you after Christmas!

  9. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to thank you! I was away from the computer for almost a month and didn't even know I'd one until you emailed me. The book arrived, I've read it already, and now have to look for the first one in the series!

    Thanks, Les!

  10. Jenclair - No worries! I'm on my computer every day, but have been super slow to respond to comments. We can only do so much, right? Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. I keep thinking I'd like to re-read them someday...


I may not answer your comments in a timely fashion, but I always answer. Check back soon!