Darkness, Take My Hand

Dennis Lehane, Author William Morrow & Company $24 (336p) ISBN 978-0-688-14380-0
In his outstanding second novel, Lehane (whose debut, A Drink Before the War, won a Shamus award) explores horror close to home. Boston PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro agree to help psychiatrist Diandra Warren. Her patient, using the name Moira Kenzie, has said she was abused by Kevin Hurlihy, a sociopathic Irish Mafia henchman who grew up in Angie and Patrick's neighborhood. Hurlihy may have threatened the doctor, who fears that her son, Jason, may be in danger. While Patrick and Angela shadow Jason, another former neighbor, Kara Rider, is found crucified. Sensing a connection, Patrick seeks out a retired cop turned saloonkeeper who recalls a hushed-up crucifixion murder in the neighborhood 20 years ago. The suspect in that killing is in prison, so he can't be murdering again, can he? As Patrick probes painful memories, he faces losing the woman he loves, Grace Cole, who is appalled at the brutality invading their lives. By the time Patrick and Angie realize how the murders relate to their own youth, they are the next targets. The showdown is unpredictable, like the New England autumn which, in Lehane's depiction, is informed by a wind ""so chilly and mean it seemed the exhalation of a Puritan god."" The story is densely peopled with multidimensional characters; there are no forgettable, walk-on roles on Lehane's stage. Lehane's voice, original, haunting and straight from the heart, places him among that top rank of stylists who enrich the modern mystery novel. Author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996
Release date: 07/01/1996
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