Friday, February 11, 2011

Moonlight Mile - Dennis Lehane (Audio)


After pretty much loving A Given Day, Shutter Island, and Mystic River, I decided that this is as close to fan girl as I was going to get with an author. I love his gritty, blue-collar Boston thing he's got going on, he's good for some in-your-face foul language, and he throws a nice twist or two in there to keep you on your toes. Unfortunately, I'd never read "Gone Baby Gone" because my library doesn't have it on audio, and of course, here comes a sequel, all squeaky and shiny and new, tempting me to read out of order. My solution was to watch the movie, just to get the flavor of the characters we are dealing with. I'll try to be as unspoilery as possible, but a few tidbits of "Gone Baby Gone" are going to be revealed, so be warned. I will, however, protect the integrity of "Moonlight Mile".

Synopsis: It's been twelve years since the abduction and recovery of Amanda McCready, and the ethical dilemmas of that situation haunt Patrick Kenzie to this day. Still, life has moved on. Patrick and Angie worked out their differences and are now married with a little girl. They are struggling to make ends meet, and desperately wish for a normal stable life in which to raise their child.

Then their past comes to haunt them. Amanda's Aunt Beatrice calls Patrick for help...Amanda is missing again. Despite Amanda's home life, she is the brightest and most promising in her class...Harvard-bound. It seems unlikely she has run away on her own. Even though this is not a case that is going to pay the bills, Patrick and Angie decide that this might be the chance to make good on all the mistakes that may have been made twelve years ago.

My thoughts: Even without the benefit of getting to know the literary characters of Patrick and Angie, I liked them, and was genuinely excited to find out how they were doing after all this time. I found that they had matured nicely, but both still had that wild edge that loves the thrill of danger. I was also nostalgic about Amanda, that poor poor child with that horrible mother (who is still just as bad as ever). Lehane easily jumps right back into the storyline without a hitch, providing all that stuff I love...all that edgy, hard-ass fast talk, working class neighborhoods, and the squalor and depravity of the underbelly. He also blessed the story with some really colorful characters. I almost felt guilty for loving the Russian hitmen, but I couldn't help myself.

I also appreciated Lehane's examination of social issues, particular with abused children. Is is our right, as a by-stander, to guess what kind of a life a child might have, and act on our own accord to ensure they get the love and protection they need? Or do we let the government handle it and turn our heads, knowing it might not be the best alternative?

But somewhere down the path, believability and plausibility took a hike. The Big Explanation (you know, the one near the end that resolves all the questions), and to a certain extent The Lehane Twist, were waaaaay out there. I just couldn't buy what he was selling. I'm itching to go into details, but that would blow the whole thing for you. Suffice it to say that no matter how Lehane justified himself, I still found myself just shaking my head.

I guess my bottom line is that I enjoyed this quick listen, and I love what Lehane brings to the table, but this isn't the best of him. It is worth the effort, though, just to catch up with Patrick and Angie, and adore some Russian mobsters.

A word about the audio production: I squealed with delight when I discovered that this audio was narrated by the most wonderful Jonathan Davis. Unwittingly, I think I have listened to more of Jonathan Davis than any other narrator out there. He is ONE CLASS ACT. He does accents like Meryl Streep, he offers nuances, he offers emotion, all effortlessly. He is a delight to listen to.


3 out of 5 stars


17 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I still ahven't tried any Lehane, but I have The Given Day here. Sounds as though I should avoid this one, but I am keeping my eyes peeled for a copie of Shutter Island.

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Watching all of these recent Boston movies makes me want to visit my husband's family more (he and his family are from there). I loved the movie Gone Baby Gone, but like you, haven't read it - I've had my eye on Moonlight Mile but also have a downloaded version of Gone Baby Gone, so I need to stop procrastinating and read it! Too bad on the unbelievable twist at the end, though - I wonder if Affleck will direct this one, too?

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Agree with you on the over the top ending, but also thought that the dialogue between Patrick and Angie sounded a little too scripted.

caite said...

I read this one and one again I agree with your opinion on this one.

Zibilee said...

I just finished this one last night and I, too, loved the Russian mobsters, guy. I hadn't read the first book either, but had seen the movie many months ago, and couldn't help but see the Patrick of the book as Ben Affleck, which I think made the book more enjoyable to me. I thought the story was really good, but that ending was just too clever to be believable, so ultimately I agree with you. It was a fun book to read though, and I had a hard time tearing myself away. Lehane does seedy in such a believable way, you know?

C.B. James said...

I like Shutter Island but I did think it stretched credibility in the end. I fear that mystery/thriller writers are trying to top each other and everyone else these days. The big reveals are getting harder and harder to believe and the crimes are getting sicker and sicker.

That comes from a fan of very dark, noir detective stories.

bermudaonion said...

Darn, I was hoping this would be wonderful! I think Lehane is a master of suspense.

Ti said...

I just saw the movie Shutter Island and I was riveted. I've not read any of the books though and you know how bad I am with audio books. I space out too much while listening to them.

I just finished The Devil's Star though and if you haven't read that one yet, you must!

Amy said...

Lehane is on my list of authors to be sure to read but I haven't yet. I had no idea Moonlight Mile was a sequel to Gone Baby Gone. I'm going to read something by him soon but I'm taking your word for it and try one of the 3 you really enjoyed, probably A Given Day since I've seen the films of the other two. I'll leave Moonlight Mile for a rainy, stormy day!

Thanks Sandy!

Jenners said...

I won this in a giveaway but haven't read it yet because I think I should read "Gone Baby Gone" first. Maybe I'll try that on audio.

Beth F said...

Bummer that this wasn't one of Lehane's best. I haven't read this one yet. But if I do, I'm going for the audio!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

This was the first Lehane for me, and I loved all the Boston area references. The bit about the McMansions (which had been halted mid-construction due to the dried up economy) was spot-on.

The story was a big stretch, but very entertaining, as you say. I read the print edition; sounds like the audio was a great ride.

samantha.1020 said...

Shutter Island was such a good read that I went into this one with high hopes. And I did end up enjoying it although I can see what you mean about the ending. I didn't see it coming though either. I can't wait to go back and read this series from the very beginning!

Melissa M said...

Hmmm, I'm on the fence about this one, but I always love when you point out a must listen to narrator!

Molly said...

I have still not read Shutter Island - although i have watched the movie twice (I LOVE it!)

Perhaps my next Lehane book should be Mystic River?

And...now I know to watch for Jonathan Davis as a good audiobook narrator. I LOVE a good accent.

Kathleen said...

I've never read any Lehane so maybe I wouldn't start with this one since you only gave it a 3.

Alice Teh said...

I so loved Shutter Island and would want to give the other Lehane books a try.