Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Darkness, Take My Hand by, Dennis Lehane

The issue, he wrote, is pain.

Lehane's second book in the Kenzie/Gennaro PI series takes place roughly a year after the events of A Drink Before the War.  Patrick is introduced to his new client by a friend who is a college professor.  Diandra Warren was visited by a young woman calling herself Moira Kenzie who said her boyfriend threatened violence against her.  Shortly after the visit, Diandra received a photograph of her son in the mail, implicitly threatening his life if she did anything to help Moira.  As always, things aren't always what they seem and Kenzie finds himself toe-to-toe with psychopaths and serial killers.

One thing you can say about Lehane is he certainly has a way with words.  His descriptions are crisp and clear and his dialogue rings very true to life.  I'm not a fan of serial killer books/movies, but Lehane was able to keep my interest with the language and the interesting hook as to why the killer is taunting Kenzie.

I like the interplay between our series characters. It is enjoyable to watch he relationship between Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro grow.  Even Phil, Angie's abusive ex-husband, is rehabilitated in the novel.

In many thrillers, the writers either leave a lot off the page until after the climax or tell us everything and we get frustrated with the characters for not putting the pieces together sooner.  Lehane is able to balance it well so we are only a handful of paragraphs ahead of the characters.

I mentioned earlier I don't care for serial killers.  Since they tend to kill for seemingly no reason (could be "cleansing" those who disagree with them or to get some kind of sexual thrill), the type doesn't appeal to me.  Give me villains who kill for jealousy or to keep secrets or for revenge.  Lehane was able to keep my interest by tying the killer's current spree (though not his one from 20 years ago) to Kenzie's past.  He also had his characters get into a philosophical discussion about how long you can deal with violence and muck before it becomes part of you.

Recommended for fans of the series and serial killers.  Not recommended as an entry point for Lehane's work.

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