Lehane, Dennis. Gone, Baby, Gone.

NY: Morrow, 1998.

This is the fourth novel featuring hard-boiled private eyes Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, and it’s probably the best in the series. Both of them grew up and still live in Dorchester, a down-market Irish section of Greater Boston, and they know the community and almost everyone in it. When four-year-old Amanda McCready disappears from her single mother’s apartment while she’s (supposedly) visiting next door, and the police can’t seem to turn up anything, Amanda’s aunt and uncle come to Kenzie and Gennaro to beg for help.

Was it a kidnapping for profit? A revenge thing? A pedophile crime? They decide to take on the case, though they aren’t optimistic. The Boston PD’s Crimes Against Children unit decides to allow them to participate (based on their strong local reputation), but they’ll have to team up with Poole and Broussard, two of the unit’s best detectives. It doesn’t take long to discover that Helene, Amanda’s mother, seldom tells the truth about anything. And there just might be a whole other side to her daughter’s disappearance than anyone expected — or even several sides.

The style is thoroughly noir and the cast of characters includes some truly horrible specimens of humanity. All of it — the characters, the narrative, the atmosphere — is very well handled. Lehane is very, very good at this sort of thing. And in amongst the grit and occasional gore (just for the hell of it, apparently), he inserts a delightful and very funny chapter about T-ball and the kids (and their parents) who play it. And there’s also the deeper question of making a choice between what’s “right” and what the law requires, which will have its effect on the two protagonists. An excellent book.

Published in: on 17 December 2012 at 6:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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