Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Just when things are going great for both of them, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired by a psychiatrist to find out who's stalking her son. Meanwhile, Patrick runs into a troubled girl from the neighborhood. But what do these two things have to do with an imprisioned psychopath who wants to speak with Patrick?
One of these days, I'm going to learn my lesson and have Kemper and Nancy pick out all my books for me. Kenzie and Gennaro are rapidly climbing my detective hierarchy.
Things have changed since the last outing. Angie is finally divorcing her alcoholic, wife-beating husband Phil and Patrick's in a relationship with a doctor named Grace and acting as a father for her two-year old, Mae. Then things start going pear-shaped when it appears a pair of serial killers is at work.
Much like Lawrence Block's marvelous Matthew Scudder series, the things that makes Kenzie and Gennaro stand out are the well-realized setting and the characters. The Boston of Lehane's tales is as rich a setting as Block's New York and I wouldn't be surprised if they existed in the same space-time continuum. Lehane's cast is really growing on me. Kenzie and Gennaro are both three-dimensional, multi-facetted characters that I have no trouble believing in. The supporting cast, namely cops Devin and Oscar and one Bubba Rogowski, are memorable in their own right. I even caught myself giving a shit about Phil, Angie's douche bag ex.
The characters have developed quite a bit since the first book. I'm almost afraid to see what wringer Lehane is going to run them through in subsequent books. Patrick and Angie are a lot more scratched and dented than they were when the series started and I'm only two books in.
The villains were suitably vile but not cartoonishly so, not even for serial killers. I had no idea who the mastermind was until Patrick did, though the mystery wasn't easily solveable. One of the killers reminded me a lot of James Motely from one of the Matthew Scudder books.
I guess that's about all I can say. As much as I liked the first book, A Drink Before the War, this one was even better. It's an easy five stars.
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