Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book 91: Darkness, Take My Hand

Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane

This novel is the second of the Kenzie/Gennaro series and the follow up to A Drink Before the War. While I enjoyed the first of the series, I thought the end just went way too over the top with neighborhoods becoming war zones in a gang war, and too many things blowing up - there was no way they could have come through some of those gunfights without being arrested.

In Darkness, Take My Hand, Lehane keeps the action much tighter, and as a result, more believable to me. The novel starts simple enough: a woman hires the team because she believes she has been threatened by the mob, and wants to protect her son. It quickly turns out that the mob is not a threat and in fact there is something much deeper involved, linking back to the '70s, and a secret from the past.

Patrick Kenzie, the narrator, had a complicated relationship with his father - actually, that might be putting it nicely. They really didn't get along. This came up quite a few times in the first novel, and continues to be an issue here. In fact, it turns out that his father is tied to this case, and is one of the reasons that Patrick is even involved. A serial killer is on the loose, and his crimes are very reminiscent of a spree of murders from the '70s. It isn't too difficult to determine the identity of the copy cat since the original killer is still in prison and rather idolized, but finding him is another story. And of course, the truth is not quite as simple as that.

This novel also explores other issues from the past, especially the relationship between Patrick, Angela and Angela's abusive husband Phil, whom she is divorcing in this novel. Patrick who was portrayed as a bit of a womanizer with a failed marriage under his belt is seeing a doctor with a daughter, and naturally his job starts affecting his personal life. I was surprised by a few of the revelations concerning their past but it would explain why things are so complicated between them.

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