I loved this from start to finish. The book is relatively quick and easy to digest and catapults the reader into the immersive world of Panem right fr...moreI loved this from start to finish. The book is relatively quick and easy to digest and catapults the reader into the immersive world of Panem right from the get-go. Centered around the violent Hunger Games, the story tells of a bleak dystopia where the oppressive Capitol rules over a vastly disparate nation-state in the ruins of a fallen North America. Suzanne Collins satirizes "reality" television and superficiality quite deftly, all through the astute narration of protagonist Katniss Everdeen. The Games are quite graphic in depiction, but necessarily so. Everything works together to culminate in an incredibly satisfying initial foray into the state of Panem. Highly recommended.(less)
I've loved Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro from the beginning so it was with a heavy heart that I approached this, the last book in this stellar PI...moreI've loved Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro from the beginning so it was with a heavy heart that I approached this, the last book in this stellar PI series. Sadly, it wasn't quite the send-off I was hoping for.
Sure, the story was fast-paced and suspenseful, and there were a few things I did enjoy about the novel, mainly Patrick's new flame, sexy defense attorney Vanessa Moore. I found her intelligent and interesting, although I didn't really understand her role; if the antagonist was trying to terrorize Kenzie, why would he pick a casual sex partner like Moore to threaten and not go for someone who was really dear to him, like former lover Grace Cole?
...Which brings me to my first gripe. It seems that Dennis Lehane lacks both a good memory and a fact-checker, because he frequently forgets minor details that he himself came up with. An example would be the color of Grace Cole's hair. In the short scene she has with Kenzie, which provides closure to their romance that started in 'Darkness', she's described as having ash-blonde hair but, in 'Darkness', where her role was much more substanial, her hair is auburn. Sure, these are minor details, but it's still an annoyance. If Lehane is too lazy to do some background research to respect the characters he, himself, came up with, what else can't he be bothered to check? And errors like this run rampant upon the pages. Errors that could have been caught and corrected if anyone had really taken the time to check.
And that's my main gripe with this book - it's lazy and feels rushed. The plot isn't even that labyrinthine, unlike its predecessors, which had at least four or five twists before the climax of the story. Here it's pretty much resolved from the get-go, basically a no brainer, and devoid of any of that three-dimensional emotional conflict and character interaction that was so prevalent in Lehane's other Kenzie/Gennaro novels. He simply glosses over the issues that forced Gennaro to terminate her partnership with Kenzie in the previous book, acting as if said situation is now merely trivial. There's seriously only a three paragraph, half-a-page dialogue between Angie and Patrick and then BOOM, all is forgiven. And Lehane never bothers to clarify the ambiguity surrounding the ill-fated David Wetterau's "accident" crossing the street, and why he was in one place but supposed to be in another. This is a huge plot hole that's left gaping and empty. One of many.
Lehane was obviously more concerned with releasing a half-assed product than hankering down and writing a well fleshed-out finale for two characters the readers have grown to love. I'll still recommend the series to friends because books like 'Darkness, Take My Hand' and 'Gone, Baby, Gone' were so fantastic; those two are models for what this, the curtain call, should have been. But this book just broke my heart - possibly because it means we're now finished with Kenzie and Gennaro but, mostly, because it was just so underwhelming. (less)
'Sacred' acts as a much-needed respite after the rigors of 'Darkness, Take My Hand', both for the reader and for the characters Patrick and Angie. Thi...more'Sacred' acts as a much-needed respite after the rigors of 'Darkness, Take My Hand', both for the reader and for the characters Patrick and Angie. This third novel in the fantastic Kenzie/Gennaro detective series is lighter and less emotionally-draining than its predecessor 'Darkness'. In my opinion, this was necessary: another frightening look into the human psyche would have been exhausting. Although the thematic elements of human depravity, etc. introduced in the series' first two novels are present here, they aren't scrutinized nearly as meticulously as they were in 'Darkness'.
After the nightmarish events of 'Darkness', Angie and Patrick have rewarded themselves with a much-needed sabbatical, giving themselves time to heal and explore their complex relationship with one another. However, as befitting any crime novel, a series of events pit the pair on a search for a lovely, albeit tragic, young woman. While there are twists, these are largely predictable and the fairly straightforward plot pales in comparison to the delicate intricacies found in 'Darkness'. But in no way does this simplicity detract from the enjoyment of the novel. Having gone straight to 'Sacred' after finishing 'Darkness', I needed a moment to catch my breath. Lehane allows us that, while still providing us with excellent insight into Patrick and Angie's nature, as well as into their relationship - a look I particularly enjoyed. He also continues his discussion on many of the elements and themes in the first two novels, albeit this time around they are a condensed, diet version.
One complaint I do have is more with the nature of the author, who has a tendency to throw in large, random details from the farthest annals of creation, usually as a means to advance the story. While one could counter that these are simply further pieces of information that are provided as knowledge of the characters deepens, one would also think that definitive moments in a character's back story, such as the life-long, brother-like relationship Patrick has to a character introduced at the beginning of this novel, would have been alluded to earlier in the series. This type of "ret-conning" was also observed in 'Darkness' when Lehane completely morphs the depiction he provides of Angie's ex-husband Phil, effectively transforming Phil from abusive, nefarious villain ('A Drink Before the War') to a victimized saint ('Darkness'), all within the span of a few paragraphs.
But on the hole, this is a small complaint compared to the overall enjoyment provided by 'Sacred'. A solid addition to the series, it acts as a moment to breathe between doozies 'Darkness' and this book's sequel, 'Gone Baby Gone'. Recommended, particularly to fans of the series.(less)
I didn't really know if Lehane could top 'A Drink Before the War' but, oh man, did he ever! Arguably Lehane's magnum opus in the Kenzie/Gennaro series...moreI didn't really know if Lehane could top 'A Drink Before the War' but, oh man, did he ever! Arguably Lehane's magnum opus in the Kenzie/Gennaro series, this novel has enough twists and turns to make a coiled python green with envy. In one word, this novel is terrifying. If I had a quarter for every time I felt my fingers quake in fear or saw goosebumps ripple across my arm while I was reading this book, I'd have a lot of quarters. The examination into the nature of human depravity that Lehane embarked upon in his first Kenzie/Gennaro novel is continued in full-force, and boy is it depraved! Lehane thrusts his protagonists Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro into their most gruesome, horrifying case yet: what starts as a simple stalker situation quickly escalates into a macabre bloodbath of nightmarish proportions that tests our heroes both physically and mentally. The story is dark, exhausting, and incredibly graphic; certainly not for the faint of heart. It will keep the reader glued to the edge of their seat, turning those pages with a fervored frenzy, stopping to catch their breath at the end of each chapter. Just make sure you leave the light on. (less)
Absolutely stellar first novel. Great introduction into the series and really introduces us to a pair of protagonists the reader can truly invest in....moreAbsolutely stellar first novel. Great introduction into the series and really introduces us to a pair of protagonists the reader can truly invest in. It starts off with all the speed and power of a nuclear bomb, and maintains the pace until the very end. Lehane has done something magical with Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro; he's given them a sense of compassion and humanity, a stark contrast to the ugliness and inhumanity that surrounds them on all fronts. Nevertheless, this book is a strange little creature in that it's both immensely thought-provoking while also completely entertaining. There are face-offs, shoot-outs, car chases, and nail-biting confrontations all intermixed with a story that really makes one ruminate on the hopelessness of situations, society's perceptions of right and wrong, and the depravity of mankind, thematic elements that Lehane continues to examine throughout the rest of the Kenzie/Gennaro series. While the plot might be slightly-riddled with bullet holes, the realistic depiction of Kenzie and Gennaro, the heart and soul of the story, really set this novel (and series) apart from the rest in an often-times cluttered genre. (less)