It’s often said that history repeats itself, and it would appear that literary history—at least where Dennis Lehane is concerned—is no exception. In the world of private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, it’s been 12 years since four-year-old Amanda McCready vanished in Gone, Baby, Gone, only to be returned to her neglectful and conniving mother by a morally and ethically conflicted Kenzie. Now 16, Amanda, whip-smart and hardened by chronic parental neglect, has once more disappeared into the swirling eddies of Boston’s organized crime cartels. Her aunt Beatrice yet again appeals to Kenzie and Gennaro to find out what happened to Amanda, by extension offering a chance to lay to rest the demons that plagued them after the resolution of Amanda’s first disappearance. Kenzie is no longer a young man; now married (to Gennaro) and raising their own four-year-old daughter, he has more at stake personally than ever before, and the myriad complications of Amanda’s latest disappearance, along with the ghost of her previous kidnapping, have a personal immediacy that he can’t escape. As with any tale of crime and intrigue, there is far more at stake than Kenzie can guess, and he is quickly drawn into a situation that far outstrips his aging sensibilities and capabilities.

The sixth book in the Kenzie and Gennaro series, Moonlight Mile is as much a meditation on what it is to love another person as it is a slyly woven action tale, in which the heroes are getting older while the challenges they face seem only to become more morally fraught and powerful as time passes. What is left for someone when the life they once lived and loved, full of danger, blood and excitement, is no longer one they can sustain? How do you do right by the world when every choice hurts either those you love or those you strive to help? Lehane manages to address these weighty questions, deftly skirting tired moral platitudes and all the while keeping the reader’s pulse pounding. Those who enjoyed the previous books will certainly enjoy this one, while new readers will have the opportunity to enjoy the crackling chemistry Kenzie and Gennaro share, all the while being drawn into tightly plotted action that keeps the pages turning. Snappy dialogue, questions with morally ambiguous answers, a sense of the enduring humanity that manages to draw people together despite their situation, and a winking acknowledgement of the ironic comedy that is life all come together to give this book a sense of reality that is both rare and refreshing.

 

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