Hello, and Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a wonderful start. I would love to say so far, so good around here but a couple of days ago I sustained a hairline fracture to my left foot from playing my dog (I just tried to insert a picture of my dog here but realized that I currently have no pictures on my computer as my laptop is on life support…you might remember I thought it died back in December and effectively, it had, but S. found a way to restore some of its functionality so we don’t have to spend the $$ to replace it *quite* yet) – between the fracture, the fact that my due date has been pushed back a week and general 9 month pregnancy-related issues, I haven’t been feeling quite myself the last couple of days. Last night I gave myself a stern talking to before falling asleep and today I am determined to work on feeling some semblance of normalcy again, and nothing helps that like writing. So, my first book review of 2011!
Moonlight Mile, Dennis LeHane – Some Spoilers Included
Moonlight Mile returns us to the world of private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. Taking place twelve years after the events of Gone, Baby, Gone, the two detectives, who are now married with a daughter, investigate the disappearance of 16-year-old Amanda McCready, whose kidnapping they solved 12 years previously.
I don’t think I’ve been shy about hiding my love for ALL of LeHane’s work, including his series of Patrick and Angie detective novels, so when my dad told my brother and me over Christmas break that a new Patrick/Angie novel was out, I had to buy it right away. It was always uncertain whether LeHane would write another book focusing on these two, since I believe at one point he didn’t know whether they had any more stories in them or not. I am happy to say I think LeHane did a wonderful job returning us to Boston and the world of the Kenzies – sadly, I am pretty sure this book serves as his “goodbye” to the characters, both for him and for the readers. Oh, there’s the possibility he could return to them and their mad detective skills, but I have a hunch he won’t.
But you should still read the book, especially after reading the five previous Patrick/Angie books. Some of this novel bummed me out in a way – it takes place in post-recession Boston and the reality of what that continues to look like for people at first felt a little out of place in a detective novel, but LeHane turned those troubles into huge motivators for the characters and it worked really well. I was slightly nervous as I started the book, only because I wasn’t sure if it could live up to my memory of his previous work, but as usual, with whatever he writes, LeHane drew me completely into his world and didn’t let me go until the last page. I had forgotten how dark and violent parts of his novels can be, and since I seem to be overly sensitive to that kind of work right now, whether on the page or the screen, I found myself flinching a bit here and there, but in general I cannot recommend this book highly enough, and the same can be said for everything he writes. So go out and start reading some Dennis Lehane – I would recommend reading his work in order but if you don’t feel up for a series of literary crime fiction then you can’t go wrong with Mystic River or The Given Day. For now, I’ll leave you with a short excerpt:
Max began to shake. The shakes quickly turned to convulsions. Tadeo took one step toward him and Bubba took two steps toward Tadeo, the Steyr aimed at his chest.
“I’ll kill you just for being short,” Bubba said.
“I’m sorry,” Tadeo raised his hands as high as they could go.
Max flopped onto his back. Kettle hisses preceded his gulps of air.
“I’ll kill you for wearing that deodorant,” Bubba told Tadeo. “I’ll kill your friend for being your friend.”
Tadeo lowered his hands until they shook in front of his face. He closed his eyes.
His friend said, “We’re not friends. He gives me shit about my weight.”
Bubba raised an eyebrow. “You could lose a few but you’re not an orca or anything. Shit, man, just lay off the white bread and the cheese.”
“I’m thinking Atkins,” the guy said.
“I tried that.”
“You gotta give up alcohol for two weeks.” Bubba grimaced. “Two weeks.”
Good stuff, right??