Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel Hardcover – Jul 22 1998
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Cheese Olamon, "a six-foot-two, four-hundred-and-thirty-pound yellow-haired Scandinavian who'd somehow arrived at the misconception he was black," is telling his old grammar school friends Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro why they have to convince another mutual chum, the gun dealer Bubba Rugowski, that Cheese didn't try to have him killed. "You let Bubba know I'm clean when it comes to what happened to him. You want me alive. Okay? Without me, that girl will be gone. Gone-gone. You understand? Gone, baby, gone." Of all the chilling, completely credible scenes of sadness, destruction, and betrayal in Dennis Lehane's fourth and very possibly best book about Kenzie and Gennaro, this moment stands out because it captures in a few pages the essence of Lehane's success.
Private detectives Kenzie and Gennaro, who live in the same working-class Dorchester neighborhood of Boston where they grew up, have gone to visit drug dealer Cheese in prison because they think he's involved in the kidnapping of 4-year-old Amanda McCready. Without sentimentalizing the grotesque figure of Cheese, Lehane tells us enough about his past to make us understand why he and the two detectives might share enough trust to possibly save a child's life when all the best efforts of traditional law enforcement have failed. By putting Kenzie and Gennaro just to one side of the law (but not totally outside; they have several cop friends, a very important part of the story), Lehane adds depth and edge to traditional genre relationships. The lifelong love affair between Kenzie and Gennaro--interrupted by her marriage to his best friend--is another perfectly controlled element that grows and changes as we watch. Surrounded by dead, abused, and missing children, Kenzie mourns and rages while Gennaro longs for one of her own. So the choices made by both of them in the final pages of this absolutely gripping story have the inevitability of life and the dazzling beauty of art.
Other Kenzie/Gennaro books available in paperback: Darkness, Take My Hand, A Drink Before the War, Sacred. --Dick Adler
From Publishers Weekly
Vanished, in this complex and unsettling fourth case for PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro (after Sacred, 1997) is four-year-old Amanda McCready, taken one night from her apartment in Dorchester, a working-class section of Boston, where her mother had left her alone. Kenzie and Gennaro, hired by the child's aunt and uncle, join in an unlikely alliance with Remy Broussard and Nick Raftopoulos, known as Poole, the two cops with the department's Crimes Against Children squad who are assigned to the case. In tracing the history of Amanda's neglectful mother, whose past involved her with a drug lord and his minions, the foursome quickly find themselves tangling with Boston's crime underworld and involved in what appears to be a coup among criminals. Lehane develops plenty of tension between various pairs of parties: the good guys looking for Amanda and the bad guys who may know where she is; the two PIs and the two cops; various police and federal agencies; opposing camps in the underworld; and Patrick and Angie, who are lovers as well as business partners. All is delivered with abundant violence?e.g., bloated and mutilated corpses; gangland executions; shoot-outs with weapons of prodigious firepower; descriptions of sexual abuse of small children; threats of rape and murder?that serves to make Amanda's likely fate all the more chilling. Lehane tackles corruption in many forms as he brings his complicated plot to its satisfying resolution, at the same time leaving readers to ponder moral questions about social and individual responsibility long after the last page is turned. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
As it turns out, the answers are hiding in plain sight, yet it takes time, lives and luck to eventually come up with them.
This is no Mystic River (few are) but, it is a good story, well told.
The first book in the series, A Drink Before the War, really [drew] me in, being in the same vein as the Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais which I also recommend. Both series are consistently well-written, a clear step (or two) above pop/trash/beach fiction, funny, intelligent stories where the plot make sense, and the characters seem frighteningly real. It turned out that the first Kinzie/Gennaro yarn was the lightest. Each one after has ratcheted up the twists and turns, but kept the personality of the characters growing and building. The stories definitely got blacker and bleaker in the depraved actions of the bad guys. By Prayers for Rain, the villain is a hardcore-fulltime psychopath, and Patrick and Angie are a-little-further-than-borderline vigilantes.
After racing through five of the books in so short a period, I am struck with a sense of vulnerability. If some bad dude makes it their career to mess with you, and if they have no normal limits to their behavior, you're just [out of luck]. How can a normal, follow the rules type of citizen even comprehend the introduction of aggression and violence into their regular lives? Unless you have friends to help you out like Kenzie and Gennaro you might as well move out of the country and hope you're never found. Read these, you'll like them.
What starts as a straightforward plot in Gone Baby Gone, becomes an increasingly complicated story with every twist and turn. In part, this is a grim portrayal of life for some children in the real world, and if it wasn't for Dennis Lehane's elegant writing it'd be a hard novel to read.
As it was, it took me a long time to gather the courage to read Gone Baby Gone. The novel arrived on my TBR pile when my children were young. Now that they're 21 and 15, I felt ready to read Dennis Lehane, and I'm glad I did. Yes, the book was emotionally difficult at times, but the subject of child abduction was handled with passion, compassion, and a writing style that kept me turning the pages. People have recommended more of Lehane's books to me. This time, I won't wait so long to read them.
Most recent customer reviews
Having read "A Drink Before the War" and putting it down after the first few pages, I was hesitant to read this one. Read morePublished on Dec 26 2007 by J.E.L.
I have reached the point of mystification with Dennis Lehane.
After reading "Mystic River", I was very excited, thinking that I had found a great new American... Read more
I stayed up last night and finished this book. It was like watching a very suspenseful movie. Not only is this a good murder/mystery, the character development is exceptional as... Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by Kel
Dennis Lehane brings his usual blend of dark humor and suspense to this story of a missing child, an addict mother, and a drug drop gone wrong. Read morePublished on March 11 2004
Lehane's writing is good. That's what draws you in. But ultimately, like the movie Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone is unsatisfying. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004
I was given the book by a friend who knew I enjoyed reading local ficton. what a nice surprise to find it's actually a good book and one that kept me guessing until the very end. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2003
This was my second Lehane book on tape (unabridged of course) and I am still loving every minute. The characters in this book are fantastic. Read morePublished on July 10 2003 by Duke
Dennis Lehane, Gone, Baby, Gone (Morrow, 1998)
Lehane clocks in with the fourth novel in the Kenzie and Gennaro series with his most intricate plot and satisfying novel so... Read more