Monday, January 03, 2011

Moonlight Mile

Moonlight MileSaturday may have been the first day in 2011, but today is the day that the real new year begins. Mia's back to school, Jesse's back at work, and I'm back to the daily routine of running errands, doctor appointments, and piano/dance lessons. I am excited about getting back into the swing of things, because I'm radically changed my routine. Last year, I usually scheduled about 16-20 blog tours a month, and on the off days I'd try to post books sent to me to review but without a firm tour date. Between reading all of those books, I was trying to read books I'd ordered from the library. Needless to say, I often ended up burned out on reading, falling behind, and returning library books two or three times before I finally found the time to read them. The worst part was that it began to hurt my favorite thing in the whole world: reading! I turned my stress reliever/source of enjoyment/best friend into a job, and not a fun job, but one that kept me from reading some of the books I was most excited about.

I only have six tours scheduled for January, which gives me plenty of time to read library books AND keep reading books sent to me for review. I think by blogging just about everything, I'll have a wider selection of books here on the blog, plus I'll be reading books I really love again. It's taken the stress out of blogging and reminded me why I started this blog nearly six years ago.

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane is the sixth book in the Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro series, following a twelve-year hiatus after Gone Baby Gone. Patrick and Angie are now married with four-year-old daughter Gabriella. Patrick is working sub-contract PI work for a high-priced security agency, while Angie is going to school to teach teenage Down syndrome kids. They are still haunted by their last case together, the Amanda McCready kidnapping, the outcome of which split them up and shook them so hard, neither has ever brought up the subject. But Amanda's aunt Beatrice wants to hire Patrick to find Amanda...again. This new case will force Patrick to deal with the repercussions of his decision to return her to her neglectful mother all those years ago, will put his entire family in danger, and may make him re-evaluate his entire life since that moment. Now Lehane has wandered from from Patrick and Angie in the years since Gone Baby Gone. Mystic River and Shutter Island were turned into highly acclaimed movies, but his attempt at historical fiction in The Given Day flopped. Lehane's return to Patrick & Angie feels a bit like Conan Doyle's return to Sherlock Holmes; he didn't necessarily want to, but the demand was there, so he wrote a terrific book, but one that gives fans a bit of the finger, as he ends the series permanently. All of Lehane's books are his love letters to his hometown of Boston, and Moonlight Mile is good example. Patrick even goes into a long diatribe against suburbia and praising the glories of living in the city, his city. Gone Baby Gone is one of those books that deeply impacted me as a reader. I was a huge fan of the Patrick and Angie series, and Lehane's ending was wrenching, and completely unforgettable. Even twelve years after reading it, I always put it in my top ten books list. I was looking forward to finding out how Lehane would pick up the series after such a lengthy absence, but I was also fearful that he wouldn't have been able to reclaim the magic of the original series. So fearful, it took three times checking it out of the library before I mustered up the courage to crack it open. I'm so glad I did!  Patrick's journey to find Amanda and do the right thing, whatever that means, ends up involving identity theft, the Russian mob, and more backstabbings than the average Scorsese movie. Is the plot satisfying? Yes, I think ultimately it is, even if the reader has no idea of what's going on and is only along for the ride, and Lehane's writing is always worth the ride.