Nancy's Reviews > Darkness, Take My Hand

Darkness, Take My Hand by Dennis Lehane
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Apr 11, 14

bookshelves: boston, crime-mystery-thriller, favorites, weird-dreams, shelf-inflicted
Read from September 17 to 25, 2010

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

This second book in the Kenzie/Gennaro series is even better than the first. It retains some of the humor of the first, but is considerably darker and more violent. Bubba, the one-man army who cares for no one but Patrick and Angie, has a much more significant role which involves a fire hydrant and a bowling alley. Angie’s abusive ex-husband, Phil, has quit drinking and starts to show his decent side to a point where I actually began to like the guy. Patrick now has a steady girlfriend, his friendship with Angie deepens, and we learn more about his abusive father. Angie and Patrick are hired by a psychiatrist who received a picture of her son in the mail from a stranger and now believes her son is in danger. The psychiatrist mentions a mysterious student who shares Patrick’s last name and is a girlfriend of someone in the Irish mafia.

This case is not so simple. There are lots of twists and turns, more pictures, mysterious and gruesome deaths, the mafia, a convict serving life in prison, a college professor with a secret life, vicious and depraved serial killers, and atrocities from the past tainting the present.

So, after reading this book I had a crazy-ass dream that made me bolt out of bed at 3:00 in the morning, feeling shaky and nauseated. Even after I was fully awake, I swear I could hear people bowling.

In the dream I was walking into my office at work. I saw someone’s head dangling from the suspended ceiling, then I saw an arm hanging off a filing cabinet and a leg in the blue recycle barrel in my office. In the conference room were fingers, toes, and male parts arranged in various shapes on the table. I ran screaming down the hall and into this big dude who looked like Bubba. He was looking for my boss. I told him that my boss was in a meeting all day. He didn’t believe me and wanted me to take him to my office. When I refused, he yanked my arm hard, pushed me ahead of him and wanted to know why there was blood all over my shirt. When we got to my office, he went to my desk and found a bloody stiletto. I screamed at him, telling him I had no idea how any of this happened. He said he had to make a few phone calls and made me sit in the conference room. While I was waiting, I picked up two small jars of paint, one gold and one silver, and proceeded to paint the male parts, fingers and toes that were arranged so perfectly on the table.

OK, so I’m recovered now. I am hoping the next one won’t disturb my sleep.
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Reading Progress

09/20/2010 page 86
17.0% "That dream Kenzie had about the cabbage field with the Angus cows and human heads and the Hero dousing the flames in the city reminds me more of Hieronymus Bosch than Salvador Dali." 1 comment
09/25/2010 page 228
62.0% "Grace could have shown a little more gratitude. Bubba was only trying to help."
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Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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Kemper So I take it you liked the first one?


Nancy A very dark story lightened up with humor and great dialogue. Who wouldn't love a character like Bubba?


Kemper Oh, poor sweet Bubba. He's just misunderstood....


message 4: by Nancy (last edited Sep 17, 2010 08:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nancy I love him because Angie loves him and he supplies his friends with guns and grenades. He cares...


Kemper Nancy wrote: "I love him because Angie loves him and he supplies his friends with guns and grenades. He cares..."

Wait until you see how much he cares in this one....


Kemper Wow. Sounds like Lehane got into your head. Good news is that Sacred, while still really good, cuts down on the disturbing gore factor so hopefully it won't invade your dreams.


Nancy I'll admit that scene with the hydrant and Grace and her daughter watching had me laughing out loud. The bowling alley scene was very disturbing, even though Jack and Kevin were total scum. Glad to know Sacred won't be as gory. I don't know if I could take another dream like that so soon.


message 8: by Emilie (new)

Emilie really cool review, nancy. i love your description of your dream. it's very lynchian, to me, and i love lynch. scary, funny, beautiful...i feel the books i'm reading touching me in my dreams and waking life, too, coloring how i see things.
do these books need to be read in order, do you think?


Nancy Thanks, Emily. There was no beauty in this dream at all other than my macabre handiwork. If it had been Christmas, I wonder if I would have used the parts to decorate the tree.

The stories stand alone well, but in mystery series there are always references to earlier cases that may spoil the story a little if you read the books out of order. I like reading them in order so I could get to know the characters and see how their relationships develop over time.


message 10: by Emilie (new)

Emilie sorry i wasn't clear, i meant that your writing of the dream was beautiful, nancy, i understand the dream was not.
thanks for explaining, those sound like good reasons to read them in order.


message 11: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim How important is it to read the first book first?


Nancy I always like to read series in order. Why not start with the first book, Jim, since it is already in your possession?


Velvetink That was some wild dream!.I hate ones like that where you wake up feeling like you are coming back up from underwater and nothing feels real. Not even after several strong cups of coffee. Might not read this one. Was never keen on indoor bowling. Great review though.


message 14: by Nancy (last edited Sep 30, 2010 06:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nancy The dream apparently bothered one of my co-workers too. He said if I should ever happen to come across his parts, he wanted them back.


Velvetink Nancy wrote: "The dream apparently bothered one of my co-workers too. He said if I should ever happen to come across his parts, he wanted them back."

oh that's even spookier! Have you read any other of Lehane's books. I haven't seen the film Shutter Island & my library has the book, wondering if I should borrow it.


Nancy Mystic River was excellent, and the movie was great too. I saw Shutter Island a few weeks ago and it was just OK. Whe enough time passes and I've forgotten the film details, I may consider picking up the book.


Velvetink I'll look out for his books. :)


message 18: by TK421 (new)

TK421 Another series to start...my work will never be done.


Velvetink Gavin wrote: "Another series to start...my work will never be done."

My to read (wishlist) is getting out of hand, I will be booked up for the next couple of years...


message 20: by TK421 (new)

TK421 Me too!!! (But I think that is a good thing...)


message 21: by mark (new)

mark monday shudder!


message 22: by Sean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean Carter Thank you for another great recommendation. I really enjoyed this book. You're right, everybody should have a Bubba.


Nancy This book and Gone, Baby, Gone were the best in the series for me.


message 24: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Longo Your dream is a very vivid one. Do you have any idea about what it means to you? I keep a journal and in it a write my dreams.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I just read this about a month ago. I likes it a lot better than the first. I think Lehane does a lot better when he lays off the humor. It just doesn't seem to fit considering how dark these books get.


Kelly (and the Book Boar) Ooooh yay! I loved the first one - so glad to hear #2 is even better : )


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