Following the events of Darkness, Take My Hand, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have shuttered their agenThere’s something ugly about the flawless..
Following the events of Darkness, Take My Hand, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have shuttered their agency and have begun to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. A year has passed when they’re approached (and by approached, I mean drugged and tossed in the back of a van) by an ailing man desperate to find his missing daughter. The pair are hesitant to accept but when enticed by a hefty sum of cash, it becomes an offer they cannot refuse.
Sacred takes Kenzie and Gennaro down the coastline to sunny, balmy Florida as they investigate a case with more twists and turns than a tangled slinky. Seriously, this one is all over the place. I’ve seen a few folks mention that Lehane plays on Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep with regards to the plot and I can absolutely see that. Like Marlowe, Patrick and Angie more or less fall into things as time progresses, playing their cards close to the chest and not having to do a whole lot of detective work outside of putting boots on the ground and knocking on doors.
During the first two novels, Kenzie and Gennaro certainly took their lumps and Sacred is no different. The duo are beaten and roughed up badly during the story, to the point where a doctor advises Patrick that he start having kids now as he shouldn’t expect a long life. Can’t say I blame the doctor though. Hard to anticipate your golden years when you’re constantly avoiding bullets and breaking bones on a regular basis.
It’s going to be tough to top Darkness, Take My Hand and although I found Sacred to be not as strong as its predecessor, I still tore through it relatively quickly. Unfortunately, there are only six novels in the whole series, so this series is going to be over a hell of a lot sooner than I’d like....more
Charlie Parker is approached by Jerome Burnel. Burnel was at one time considered a hero, foiling a botched gas station robbery. Tragically, all was foCharlie Parker is approached by Jerome Burnel. Burnel was at one time considered a hero, foiling a botched gas station robbery. Tragically, all was forgotten when a short time later, Jerome was brought up on child pornography charges. Jerome claims he’s innocent and although he’s served his time, some may not feel his punishment was adequate. Burnell hires Parker to clear his name and look into his prison tormentor, Harpur Griffin, also recently released from jail.
The events in the twelfth book of the series, A Wolf in Winter, altered Parker forever. While he spent the majority of the last novel (A Song of Shadows) licking his wounds, he fully emerges as a changed man in A Time of Torment. Now, less a detective and more of a hunter, Parker, accompanied by his long time friends and associates Louis and Angel, seek to track down and destroy those who prey on the weak.
This time around, Parker is going toe-to-toe with a mysterious cult-like society dubbed “The Cut” – a group of maniacs residing in a backwoods county in West Virginia. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Parker novel without a hearty dose of the paranormal! The residents of The Cut serve a spooky, violent master named “The Dead King”, a detail that Burnel’s prison rapist Harpur Griffin lets slip during one of their not-so-romantic encounters.
I absolutely love what Connolly is doing with Parker by turning him into an absolute beast of a character. Charlie is remorseless in his pursuit of those named on a list found in a downed plane several books back – the list of which its purpose remains unknown other than the fact that there are some pretty unsavory characters named on it – folks who Parker would feel safer if they were dead, and vice-versa I’m sure.
Over the course of the last seventeen years, Connolly has managed to pump out nearly one Parker novel a year – which is impressive considering their length, quality and research required into the weird adversaries that Connolly presents to his signature detective. But there are some novels that while they are still enjoyable, fall a little short of what I consider his best work. Don’t get me wrong, A Time of Torment is a very good read, but just not as electrifying as some of his others – most notably his last one, A Song of Shadows....more
The Churn takes us to Earth - Baltimore Maryland to be exact - to give us the backstory on The Rocinante's lovable lug, Amos Burton.
At this point I'veThe Churn takes us to Earth - Baltimore Maryland to be exact - to give us the backstory on The Rocinante's lovable lug, Amos Burton.
At this point I've become such a huge fan of this series that I will consume anything Corey decides to write and release. Luckily for me, The Churn is a great piece of storytelling that unfolds dramatically into a pretty brutal climax. I'm actually happy that it is it's own separate story rather than being folded into one main books as it makes the subject matter hit harder. Besides, those books are plenty long enough as it is.
So, if Corey wants to release any more of these "origin stories", I'm on board....more
This is a short one - only 30 pages, but it's a good read. Drive tells the story of Solomon Epstein, the creator of the aptly named "Epstein Drive", tThis is a short one - only 30 pages, but it's a good read. Drive tells the story of Solomon Epstein, the creator of the aptly named "Epstein Drive", the engine that allows humanity to explore the solar system.
If you're a big fan of The Expanse series and are hungry for more material, this is for you. However, I wouldn't say this is at all necessary in regards to the full scope of the series. Interesting and tragic nonetheless....more
Author Craig Davidson had been having trouble making ends meet when he took a chance on a job posting for a school bus driver for special needs kids.Author Craig Davidson had been having trouble making ends meet when he took a chance on a job posting for a school bus driver for special needs kids. Originally written as a piece for Avenue magazine, Craig expanded his experience into a full length memoir. Davidson rounds out the book by adding in struggles he faced early in his writing career, as well as snippets from an unpublished novel, The Seekers.
When I attended one of Davidson’s readings last year in Halifax, he read from a yet unpublished work, a work that would become Precious Cargo. It’s no secret I’m a big Davidson (or his pseudonym Nick Cutter) fan. While it sounded interesting, I was worried it would read like a fluff piece. Releasing this book seemed like an odd choice considering the direction he’d recently taken in his career by producing stomach-churning horror novels. It almost felt like he needed to write something heart-warming to prove he isn't a complete psychopath.
Precious Cargo is indeed that heart-warming story, but it feels very genuine. I laughed out loud along with Davidson and his rag-tag crew of students as they made their way through the school year. The book never feels exploitative, you really feel that Davidson considered the kids his friends and the laughs and lessons he learned along the way were legitimate.
This typically isn’t the type of book I would pick up if it hadn't had Craig Davidson’s name on the cover. Nothing against the subject matter - I’m more of a true crime/crime fiction kind of guy - but it generally isn’t the genre that attracts me. However, I’m glad I did read it. It’s weird labelling a book about a depressed, desperate writer driving a short bus filled with handicapped children a “fun read”, but that’s what I came away with....more
A well known Boston psychiatrist has been receiving threats and promptly hires private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro to look into thA well known Boston psychiatrist has been receiving threats and promptly hires private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro to look into the source. What starts out as a simple task turns into a violent bloodbath as Kenzie and Gennaro’s world comes undone.
Dennis Lehane is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Where do I even start with this one? Darkness, Take My Hand takes everything about the first novel – A Drink Before the War – and improves upon it, which I didn’t think was even possible. Lehane simply refuses to give Patrick and Angela even the slightest break following the events of the last novel before shoving them through a proverbial thresher of violence.
The way in which Darkness, Take My Hand unfolds is what I love about crime fiction. The story moves along like a pot of water threatening to boil – there’s just so much going on at all times that there’s no way to simmer down the tension. Even the extensive dialogue scenes where Kenzie is sitting around bullshitting with other detectives and clients invokes such stress among the characters that you never feel far from everything simply coming undone.
What makes a great detective series? An interesting and compelling cast, first and foremost. Sure, the plot itself is integral, but you’re not going to be able to maintain a certain quality without making your readers invest in characters that make the outcomes matter. Obviously you have Kenzie and Gennaro, both deeply flawed individuals, but they’re joined by a stellar cast of friends, family and associates. These characters raise the stakes and make the reader question Kenzie and Gennaro’s true intentions throughout the story.
Seeing that the series is only six books long (pretty short for a modern detective saga), I wonder just how run down and beaten Lehane plans to leave Patrick and Angela when all the dust settles. I’m only two books in and I worry about their mental state....more