Review: Darkness, Take My Hand

Rating: 4/ 5

I came across Dennis Lehane's Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro series as one of the recommendations for people who liked the Russ Van Alstyne/ Clare Fergusson mystery series. I've read Lehane's Mystic River before (and liked it) and watched the unfortunate Shutter Island, but I never make assumptions of books on their movie adaptations, being well used to Hollywood's disappointments by now so I was all set to give the series a chance.

The first novel in the series didnt impress me much. In A Drink Before the War, Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, two private investigators are hired by a politician on what seems to be a simple case of the politician's cleaning service making away with sensitive documents he had hidden in his office. As Patrick and Angie investigate, the case becomes murkier, the stakes are higher and sees them dealing with unsavory criminal elements in Boston.

While I didnt care much for the mystery and gangster-style action elements, it being one of those cases where everything and the kitchen sink is hurled at the protagonists, I liked the style of the novel (the hard-boiled detective elements), the characters of Patrick and Angie who are childhood friends and sometime lovers, and the little coterie of people who help them.

So, I picked up the next one, I usually give the series a chance to develop before giving up on it entirely. And Darkness, take my Hand, the second in the series delivered everything that was promised. The slow buildup to the mystery is very well-plotted and the thriller elements kept me glued to my couch.

In Darkness, psychiatrist Diandra Warren hires the Boston PIs to keep an eye on her son. She thinks that she and her son are under threat after she accepts a patient who turns out to be the girlfriend of an Irish Mafia enforcer, who doesnt want anyone prying into his business. Diandra Warren receives a mysterious photograph of her son which scares her into hiring the team of Kenzie and Gennaro.

Patrick and Angie spend a long time tailing the son Jason, and when they dont find anything threatening, assume that the threat is over. In the meanwhile, a series of gruesome deaths in their old neighborhood have police and the FBI troubled over the absolute brutality of the crimes. In all the cases the MO is the same, the victims were sent photographs weeks before they turn up dead. And so does Jason Warren.

The police think that they have tied the murders with a 20 year old case in the same neighborhood, but the person they arrested for the crimes, Alec Hardiman, is already in prison. The nightmare turns personal when Hardiman asks to speak with Patrick. And suddenly, Patrick finds that all his friends, his lover Grace and her daughter Mae, Angie, everyone he cares for is in danger, by a threat no one understands or is able to comprehend the evil of.

Will keep you turning pages, highly recommended!!

Series Order

1. A Drink before the War
2. Darkness, Take my Hand
3. Sacred
4. Gone, Baby, Gone
5. Prayers for Rain


samir said...

Good review. Will try to read it sometime, sounds like something to be read on a long flight.

avdi said...

I am going to look for this book in the library. Have noted down the title.

btw - I read The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Steig Larsson. Um Uh.. not bad at all.. Things wrap up nicely for our favorite Salandar. But as I have read No 1 and No 3 in the trilogy, I have no wish to read No 2

Yword said...

Its been ages since I read areal page turner. this sounds great. will keep it in mind

Smita said...

hmmm lemme see if I can hunt it down in a lib!!!

couchpapaya said...

Thanks for dropping by, all!

Avdi - Oh, you dont sound too enthusiatic? I have the second on it's way to me so I'll let you know how that goes ..

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