So far this is the best Lehane book I've read, and I didn't figure on that considering I'd already seen the movie which does spoil the shocker of an eSo far this is the best Lehane book I've read, and I didn't figure on that considering I'd already seen the movie which does spoil the shocker of an ending for you. The source material, I suppose, is just much deeper and more meaningful than in any of his other novels (at least the ones I've read so far, I only have 2 left in the Kenzie/Gennaro series). Child abduction, child endangerment, child abuse, molestation, these are all themes of Gone, Baby, Gone, and they're tough to read about, but at the same time when justice is meted out and the bad guys, and there's no doubt that they're bad, meet their end, it's a good feeling beyond what most vengeances will grant you. I've always said there were two crimes that I could never forgive. One is rape, and the other is harming a child in some type of irreversible way. This could mean killing the child or abusing it or yes, molestation. To me, these are unforgiveable crimes, and no amount of rehabilitation or therapy can change these people from what they are. Even if it could, how could someone "rehabilitated" live with what they'd done?
The other beautiful thing about Gone, Baby, Gone is that while its bad guys are clear cut and obvious, its good guys never are. Even to the end, its unclear exactly what the right decision for Amanda McCready was. The issue of child abuse is black and white, but the main plot points of this book are not, and it makes the story as compelling as anything you'll read. This is not just some mystery novel, nor are any of Lehane's books in my opinion. Instead, it's a moral study or a look at our country's strange system of law and how it can hurt the people it should be protecting most. It's also a tale of good and bad parenting and how irreversably those central people in a child's life can alter their development.