Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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.


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.


The Caustic Critic said...

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.

The Caustic Critic said...

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. :)