Hired to find a six-year-old girl who vanished from her home without a trace a full year before, Boston private eyes Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro find themselves caught up a frenzy of media sensationalism after a second child disappears.
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
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.
After reading "Mystic River", I was very excited, thinking that I had found a great new American author. Read more
Lehane clocks in with the fourth novel in the Kenzie and Gennaro series with his most intricate plot and satisfying novel so far. Read more