Monday, December 20, 2010

#63 - Moonlight Mile

Murderous Christmas continues, and I finished Dennis Lehane's Moonlight Mile in record time. I read about three pages last night before crashing into sleep and then, in between visits to the hospital (blood work), visits from my Aunties, and a trip to the Duff, I finished the book about three minutes ago waiting for the baby to go to sleep. The book picks up twelve years after Gone, Baby, Gone, the other other Patrick and Angie book I've read (which I enjoyed immensely), and a lot has happened. Patrick and Angie are back together, they have a daughter, and they're once again hired by Bea to find Amanda McCready, who has once again disappeared.

Nothing is at it seems, of course, and Patrick finds himself stuck in this case that, like all those years ago, puts his life on the line and then changes it forever. I can totally see what Sarah Weinman was talking about in her review of the novel, but I didn't read and/or experience a love for crime fiction in the same way, so I don't have the same expectations. The book gripped me from the beginning, and not just because the characters are terrific, but more because the story just dove right into the action. Then, it doesn't let you go. I appreciate a good, plot-driven novel. I mean, I am a snob, don't get me wrong, and years ago, if someone told me I'd be reading bucketloads of mystery/crime novels after giving birth, I would have laughed and said something obnoxious.

There are flaws with Lehane's writing, don't get me wrong. I'm not convinced that every single character needs their hair described in such immaculate detail but, in the end, it doesn't matter because the story itself flies off the page -- and once you pick up the book, you seem to get to the end before you even realize it. I guess you have to forgive him for these petty details, for the odd over-description and the sometimes melodramatic sentences, because he writes great dialogue and has created such a hard-driving narrative. It's immaculate commercial fiction and that's a hard balance to strike -- it satisfies literary snobs like me and more general readers in one fell swoop. That's not something to be overlooked or under appreciated.

Many of my co-workers tell me that the entire series is just that good. Maybe I'll go back and read more than just the two I have done, but I'm satisfied with my Lehane experience. Maybe I don't want to ruin it. I'll just leave it where it is for now. So, no reading challenges accomplished with this novel, but that's okay too, right?

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