by Dennis Lehane
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Dennis Lehane won a Shamus Award for A Drink Before the War, his first book about working-class Boston detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. His second in the series, Darkness, Take My Hand, got the kind of high octane reviews that careers are made of. Now Lehane not only survives the dreaded third-book curse, he beats it to death with a stick.Sacred is a dark and dangerous updating of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, as dying billionaire Trevor Stone hires Kenzie and Gennaro to find his daughter, Desiree. Patrick's mentor, a wonderfully devious detective named Jay Becker, has already disappeared in St. Petersburg, Florida, while working the case, so the two head there to pick up a trail. Desiree, of course, is nothing like the sweet and simple beauty described by her father, and even Chandler would have been amazed by the plot twists that Lehane manages to keep coming.
Maybe honor was in its twilight. Maybe it had always been heading that way. Or worse, maybe it had always been an illusion.
Everyone is suspect. Everyone is suspect.
It was starting to become my mantra.
It goes without saying that I’m a picky little shit. I have rules upon rules, and I turn down rec after rec from friends because I am just that critical. It’s not because I don’t trust my friends…it’s more than that. Imagine knowing precisely what you want. And when you find it, your eyes light up and your heart goes into overdrive, and you feel lighter than air-You know that, without a doubt, this book will be perfect for you. And, I’ll tell ya, it’s a long, drawn out process for me. It is. So, when my friend said I’d love this, I tried it…but didn’t particularly fall for the first book.
Once again, my perspective of prior events was reshaping, transmogrifying, reinventing itself until I felt increasingly stupid for ever trusting my initial instincts.
This case, I swear.
It was good, sure. I loved the main characters, of course. But the story itself? I found it lacking-Not because it wasn’t well-written…it was. But, the things they had to investigate bored me a tad and I wasn’t fully engrossed in the story-I didn’t get the obsession, is my point. It was a typical first book with intros type deal. So, without further adieu (Meaning I asked first if the second was better, shut up) I tried the second book.
“Mr. Stone, you said you’d heard we had the two qualities you were looking for most.”
“One was honesty. What’s the other?”
“I heard you were relentless,” he said as he stepped into the study. “Utterly relentless.”
A stalker/serial-killer story, deep, meaningful relationships between Patrick, Angie, and their friends growing, and the atmosphere becoming darker, eerier, creepier…I was like a moth to a flame. So, it goes without saying that I was super excited for book three. But, and don’t judge me, I am seriously addicted to the serial killer books and was a little put out that wasn’t in this story. I know, admit me to a hospital now. But it really and truly says something when the story isn’t centered around what I want…but becomes everything I could ever need.
I turned to Angie. “How you doing?”
“My wrists hurt and so does my head.”
“I’m generally in a foul mood.”
I looked back into the light. “We’re in a foul mood.”
“I’d assume so.”
“Fuck you,” I said.
Plot: While not as cutthroat as book two, I was still 100% satisfied. Angie and Patrick don’t want to take any cases-they are laying low following the devastating events following the serial killer’s reign of terror. The darkness was eating at them, so they decided it was time to figure out what was important. And that’s all fine and good…until someone approaches them in a way they can’t refuse. Now, even though this case seemed mild, it became almost my favorite. Now, no, wait up, not over my serial killer fetish-Don’t fret. This case allowed for Angie and Patrick to explore their relationship and dig deeper and focus on, yes I know I’ve said it, what’s important. I just think that the details of this case helped to highlight the best parts of what make Angie and Patrick, well…Angie and Patrick. I got to see why everyone loved them not only separately, but together, and I loved it. There isn’t much I can say that I disliked about this story.
“I’d say that’s a clue,” I said.
“Big or small?”
“Depends whether you measure by width or length.”
I got a good dope-slap for that on the way out the door.
The Mystery: I touched base on it above, but I just wanted to zero in on the fact that it wasn’t as simple or mundane as I had first imagined. It was underhanded, crazy, and wholly addicting…I couldn’t put this book down to save my life…and this shocked me.
When the door closed behind them, I said, “Heel, Walter. Roll over, Walter.”
“Poor Walter,” Angie said as we reached the elevator bank.
“Poor Walter. Please. Could you have been any more breathy by the way?”
“‘Sex months,'” I said in my best Marilyn Monroe voice.
“I didn’t say ‘sex.’ I said ‘six.’ And I wasn’t that breathy.”
“Whatever you say, Norma Jean.”
The Characters: I adored Patrick before, but I fell even harder for him in this one-his humor, his wit, his personality…He was absolutely intoxicating. And, even more than that, I fell in love with Angie in this one, too. She hasn’t been a favorite of mine just yet, but I always liked her. But, in this one, she shined just like Patrick. Each page put a smile on my face (Well, except for the murder investigation, hmm?) and a ray of sunshine through my heart. Even Bubba had me smiling ear-to-ear, and Nelson, no matter how small their part.
Angie was where most of me began and all of me ended.
Overall? This is a definite contender for favorite of the series. It’s hard to explain, but I loved books two and three for totally different reasons. And, if I had to choose, yeah, I guess I would read this one more on an ‘over and over’ basis, if only to smile from ear to ear at Patrick and Angie’s antics. While 2 is probably my favorite for the plot (darkness, helplessness, never quite putting my finger on whodunnit, and the bone-chilling revelations that made me shiver long after each eerie scene), book three is my favorite for the characters. They shine and they do what they do best, and not once was I bored. That’s saying something for such long books.
“It bugs you.”
“A bit. It doesn’t feel right.”
She leaned back in her chair. “We in the trade call that feeling a ‘hunch.'”
I bent over my notes, pen in hand. “How do you spell that? With an ‘h,’ right?”
So, you know, shocking right? I am in love with yet another series. And damn it all to hell, I’m not finding anything else I want to read in-between. Ain’t that just the bitch of it? So, anyway, whenever I move onto book four, I will put my big girl pants on…because from what I hear? Shit’s about to get real messy…and sad. Very, very sad. I’m ready, book!
I looked up at the sky, such a rich dark shade of blue it seemed artificial. That was something else I’d been noticing down here: This state-so ripe and lush and colorful-seemed fake in comparison with its uglier counterparts up north.
There’s something ugly about the flawless.
Well…no sense lying about it…I’ve officially went into fangirl mode.
Alert the media.
Review to come.