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3 more 2010 novels that you don't want to miss

Two private investigators are forced to deal with the aftermath of a case that has haunted them for more than a decade, Herman Melville sets sail, and an Israeli mother goes for a very long walk in this month’s roundup of new fiction.

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1. "Moonlight Mile," by Dennis Lehane

Twelve years ago, private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro were hired to find a kidnapped four-year-old girl. They succeeded, but the result was anything but a happy ending.

Kenzie found Amanda McCready in a loving, stable home and did as the law required, returning her to her neglectful, drug-addicted mother and sending the kidnappers to jail. Gennaro was so furious that she left him at the end of “Gone Baby Gone.”

“You did the right thing,” says a character in Moonlight Mile, Dennis Lehane’s sixth and apparently final mystery starring the couple. “But you were still wrong.”

Now a teenager, Amanda McCready has disappeared again. This time, Kenzie and Gennaro, now married and with a four-year-old daughter of their own, are determined to do right by her – no matter the fallout.

“Since we'd reconciled, we hadn't said the names Amanda or Helene McCready in our home until three days ago,” recalls Kenzie. “In those three days, every time one of us mentioned one of those names, it felt like someone had pulled the pin from a grenade."

Gennaro and Kenzie have aged more believably than is the case with characters in a lot of other series: He’s exhausted and scrambling for freelance gigs; she’s a grad-school student and stay-at-home mom who misses the adrenaline rush of her old job. The revival of the McCready case, and its attendant violence, sends both back into old patterns.

“Her [protective] shell is made of quiet fury and wary disconnection,” says Kenzie. “Mine is made of humor and sarcasm. Together we resemble a comedian failing an anger-management class.”

The villains here aren’t nearly as compelling as in “Gone Baby Gone,” which was turned into a movie directed by Ben Affleck in 2007, but Lehane’s interest in investigating moral ambiguity and a genuine affection for his characters makes “Moonlight Mile” a satisfying send-off.

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