Posts Tagged ‘dennis lehane’

This one is the sixth book in this series, and if you haven’t read at least ‘gone baby gone’ you’re likely to get confused. In that book little Amanda went missing at four years old. I was just as surprised as Kenzie to find out she’s sixteen now.

Yup, this book is a jump ahead in time from the last one. Kenzie has a family and everything. Guys, he has a daughter who is amazingly cute, and has his love of word play which leads to some odd but amusing conversations. I thought he was starting to feel a little creaky around the edges in the last book, but in this one he’s definitely not feeling like a spring chicken anymore.

Here’s the blurb:

Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child’s aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.

Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda’s aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie’s door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn’t been seen in weeks.

Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It’s a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.

In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it’s possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don’t always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.

Gone baby gone was always my favorite book of the series, mostly because of the moral problem Kenzie and Gennaro found themselves in once they finally found Amanda. There is no right answer. I mean, you can’t just take it on yourself to snatch kids from neglectful parents. If an individual off the street is allowed to judge parents and find them lacking, then where would that lead? On the other hand, Amanda could have had a much better childhood if she were allowed to stay with the parents who loved and took care of her instead of going back to her mother.

This book takes another look at those moral problems we faced in that book, and see the impact of the choice Kenzie had to make. And of course there’s a whole boat load of action, made even more scary by Kenzie being a little rusty and stupid thugs threatening his daughter what seems like every couple minutes. I didn’t realize what a unique position he had before only having friends who can kick ass until there’s a little girl these guys can try and use for leverage.

On a happier note Bubba has a decent amount of face time, and is much loved uncle Bubba now. He’s shooting guys in one scene, then babysitting in another. It’s both cute, and scary.

The plot is as usual for this series full of twisty twistiness. I think the only thing that stopped this being five stars for me was my sadness about Kenzie losing his grove. Still, he does pretty good, and I guess he does have to slow down eventually.

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I’d recommend reading the previous book in the series before this one, but you might be able to swim along without it. I for example due to supply have only read books 1 (a drink before the war) and 4 (gone baby gone) in this series before this one. I got along well enough.

In this book Kenzie is less bright eyed and bushy tailed than in previous books. His hectic life seems to be getting to him. Poor guy. In the last book (I think it was explained enough in this book that you shouldn’t get lost) he broke up with Gennaro: the love of his life, so he starts off really down about everything. Then we get to see him claw his way back up. Before I go any further, here’s the blurb:

The master of the new noir, Dennis Lehane delivers a shattering tale of evil, depravity, and justice that captures the dark realism of Boston’s gritty blue-collar streets.

Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie wants to know why a former client, a perky woman in love with life, could, within six months, jump naked from a Boston landmark–the final fall in a spiral of self-destruction. What he finds is a sadistic stalker who targeted the young woman and methodically drove her to her death. A monster the law can’t touch. But Kenzie can. He and his former partner, Angela Gennaro, will fight a mind-twisting battle against this psychopath even as he turns his tricks on them.

So yay, Gennaro comes back, which helps things along hugely. We also get to see a lot of Bubba who manages to be both adorable and terrifying.  So that’s already pretty awesome.

The plot is a good one with lots twists and turns as is usual for the series. I love this series for three main reasons. One: so many twists and turns. Two: the gritty hard hitting atmosphere. Three: Kenzie’s witty remarks.  Now, Kenzie is slightly less witty than previous books, but I can forgive him that. There is wit enough to be happy about. And this book isn’t as hard hitting as the previous books I’ve read in the series (books 1 and 4) but still has enough gritty atmosphere to keep its usual style. The twists however are their usual twisty selves.

The stalker in this book is a scary guy. I was amazed by how much a person can damage another person’s life without even interacting with them. Which of course makes it a lot more difficult to get the law involved, and makes Kenzie and Gennaro’s job far from easy.

I gave this book four stars. To be honest, it probably lost that extra star due to high expectations. Both the two previous books in the series I read had moments and twists that were ‘oh my god, almost drop the book’ kind. The wit was sparkling. The atmosphere was at times too hard hitting to take.

This book had great twists, good wit, and interesting atmosphere. In short it was good, great even, but it didn’t have the same impact on me as the other two books had. So while I still recommend it, it’s a four star book for me.

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Another Dennis Lehane. Love this guy.

This one was harder to read than my previous one of his: ‘A drink before the war.’ They both deal with difficult topics, but this one seemed to go deeper. I don’t think it was any more graphic, but as a lot of the book was based around one event that tied the three main characters together: one of them getting abducted and abused as a child, and this character was a pov character, it went deeper into the psychology.

Here’s the blurb:

Reluctantly, Sean Devine confronts the world of violence and pain when his childhood friend’s daughter is murdered and the investigation brings him face-to-face with a vigilante killer and a man with a dangerous secret.

I’m not sure that blurb does the best job describing it. Mystic River is a mystery. Most of it revolves around Jimmy’s, Sean’s childhood friend’s daughter being murdered. Sean is detective in the case and sets out to find out who did it. And then there’s Dave, the friend abducted while they were playing. He came home the night Jimmy’s daughter was murdered covered in blood.

I guessed all the twists before they came about, but that didn’t stop it from being a good read, even if I puzzled out who did it a short way through the book. Lehane gives enough clues for the reader to be able to work things out before the conclusion, and while I prefer being shocked, I didn’t mind that. Sure, the puzzle was interesting while it lasted, but it was still rewarding to see the characters find their way to the truth.

Disclaimer here: I’m told I’m unusually good at puzzling out who done its, so the twists may not be as obvious as they appeared to me, and even if they are, it’s nice sometimes for the reader to feel cleverer than the characters.

Lehane’s writing was great. Don’t expect the humor you get in his Kenzie and Gennaro series, but you still get the emotional poignancy. Even though I knew the twists were coming, they still wacked a emotional punch.

Everything wrapped up pretty neatly by the end, even if some bits were so darn sad. All in all, I’d say this was a good read. If you liked the film, read it. If you like mysteries, read it. I think the only people I’d warn not to read this are those who only like ‘happy, happy, rainbows’ books. This is not one of those.

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I’ve found a new favorite author: Dennis Lehane. That’s how much I liked this book.

Here’s the blurb:

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro know their home, rough neighborhoods of South Boston. Their first PI job seems simple – find Jenna, a black cleaner, and confidential state documents she stole. Extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extend from the ghetto to the government. The worst atrocities are closest to home, and committed in the name of love.

This is the first book in a series I’m eager to read the rest of. Lehane doesn’t shirk from tough topics, something I learned reading mystic river, which I’ll write a review on eventually. Considering that, it was surprising how much humor there was in this book.

Patrick, our narrator, is full of snark. But when things get serious, he gets serious too. That about sums up the book. There are lines that made me laugh out loud, lines that made me want to cry, and even lines that were so insightful they made me look at the world a different way.

I went into this steeling myself against the difficult topics like child prostitution I knew would be brought up, but they didn’t appear until a good chunk of the way into the book which I thought was a good move. It let me get to know the characters a bit more before you get the punch in the gut that brings that topic into play. So if you’re a bit afraid of the entire book being full of that issue, don’t. When it comes up it does get a bit graphic, but it doesn’t appear until a good third of the way in, and I think was treated respectfully.

The thing I loved most about this book was the relationship between Patrick and Angie. They were just so close, like finishing sentences type of close. They seemed to know each other better than they knew themselves. There’s one moment when they get in an argument, and Angie knows just what to say to poke the deepest most vulnerable part of Patrick, and Patrick immediately does the same to her. And then a couple minutes later they brush it all away and are best friends again. To me, that’s the definition of true friendship. You know each other inside and out, including the parts you don’t want to admit. No one can destroy you as easily as your best friend can, and sometimes you fight, but you always make up again.

And I can’t write a review on this book without mentioning Bubba. He’s been their friend for a long, long time, and he hates just about everyone but them. He was awesome, just about the cutest giant gun toting psychopath ever. There were times when I honestly didn’t know whether to grin at his loyalty to his friends, or be very, very afraid.

The plot was good. Twisty enough to be enjoyable. There was at least one big twist in there I didn’t see coming, which is always a neat thing. Not anything that made me throw up my hands and go ‘oh my god,’ but a decent amount of twists.

My opinion: if you like mysteries, try this one. I loved it so much I’m thinking of buying the next one, even though I have over a hundred books I already have access to that I really should read first.

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