Skip to main content

Cannonball Read #39 - 42: Dennis Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro Mysteries

Considering how much I enjoyed Gone, Baby, Gone (downer though it may be) I decided to go ahead and read the rest of Lehane's series featuring Patrick Kenzie and his partner Angela Gennaro. Starting with A Drink Before the War, and continuing through Darkness, Take My Hand and Sacred which all come before Gone, Baby, Gone and concluding with Prayers for Rain, I greatly enjoyed the entire series, though I found them somewhat mentally and emotionally exhausting.

All of the books center on mysteries that occur in and around Kenzie and Gennaro's home neighborhood of Dorchester, MA. Although I didn't find the neighborhood itself playing as much a part in the other books as it did in Gone, Baby, Gone, it did set the scene nicely for the violence and despair that encompassed the books fairly equally. The mysteries themselves were twisty and interesting, and most of the time I didn't know where Lehane was going until we actually arrived, which is nice for someone who reads as many mysteries as I do. I also enjoyed watching the gradually developing relationship between Patrick and Angie through each book, as well as seeing the progress of other repeat characters.

Taken as a set, these books--though often similar in feeling--don't fall into the trap that often occurs with series books...they don't begin to feel formulaic, the world of the novels is not like a sitcom, where everything resets and goes back to normal at the end. You can watch Patrick, Angie, and their friends change with the dark and dismal events in each book.

I don't think there will be any more books in this series--Prayers For Rain seems to finish things up for the main characters and leave them in a relatively good place--but I greatly enjoyed reading them (I chewed through all 4 in the course of one weekend) and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys mysteries and can handle some depressing subject matter.

Comments

lilywhite said…
Actually, I saw him speak in Boston on May 8th and he said he's currently writing a new Patrick & Angie book. Should be out next year.

Lily
Oooh, that's exciting. I figured since the last book ended more or less happily for everyone that indicated he was kind of done with them. I do so enjoy Patrick and Angie, and definitely look forward to their continued adventures.
Mr. Controversy said…
What order do you suggest reading them in? I need to read some more Lehane, and seeing as I found Gone Baby Gone to be an amazing movie, I'd love to see how the original novel compares. Plus the moment you said there was more to the story of Patrick & Angie, that practically sold me seeing as GBG leaves them in quite a rough place.
I believe they go A Drink Before the War, Darkness, Take My Hand, Sacred, Gone, Baby, Gone, and finally Prayers for Rain.

I'd suggest making sure you have a good chunk of time available, because I spent a whole weekend reading these and couldn't put them down. :)

Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CBR9 #2 - Southern Gods

I've had Southern Gods on my TBR list for so long I no longer remember why I put it there. Was it a recommendation from Amazon? From Goodreads? Did someone I know recommend it? Did it cross my path as a "If you liked __________ then you'll like this too!"

Maybe I heard it through the grapevine?

I only know that recently, I happened to come across it on my wishlist and decided to go ahead and splurge on it.

I'm glad I did.

In 1951 Memphis, war veteran and leg-breaker-for-hire Bull Ingraham gets a new assignment: a record company has lost one of their employees somewhere. Early Freeman set off to deliver new records to radio stations, and has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. His boss at Helios Records is anxious to find him...and also anxious to find a mysterious blues musician whose music can do terrible things to the living -- and to the dead.

Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Sarah Rheinhart leaves her abusive husband and returns to her family home, where …

CBR9 #5 Borgin Keep by Ron Ripley

I've read the entire Berkeley Street series, as well as the Haunted series, and I think this was definitely one of the better offerings. This time, former Marine Shane and his slowly growing band of willing (and unwilling) ghost hunting allies face their biggest challenge yet. While the ghosts of Borgin Keep are both very dangerous and very evil, Shane also must keep one step ahead of The Watchers, a ruthless and powerful organization who find him to be a threat to their shadowy goals.

As always, for me the best part are the characters. Shane and his ghost-hunting partner Frank (a former soldier/former monk) are joined once again by police detective Marie LaFontaine, who is a very tough woman determined to avenge a dead friend. I'm not as fond of Shane's girlfriend Courtney, but I understand her uses as far as character development.

The plot moves along quickly, and I found this book a little better fleshed out than a few of the previous ones in the series -- while I enjoye…