A serious case of mixed feelings. There are recurrent ham-fisted attempts at humor which threw me right out of it, annoyed me no end. At one point, narrator Patrick Kenzie snaps that some "Sylvester-Stallone-in-Nighthawks
" bad guy needs to watch his ass, and I groaned. If I wanted to watch Dennis Miller, I'd watch Dennis Miller.* Yet there are also frequent moments of whipsmart wiseassery, and--as is often the case with Lehane's noir fiction--moments of intense affective engagement. This novel depends upon our readerly recollection of the intense heartrending conclusion of the last Kenzie/Gennaro novel, Gone, Baby, Gone
; the moral quandaries raised there reverberate--and amplify--in this one. And the plot's tightly-wound, centered on characters but precisely rolling out developments, turns, turnarounds. I think I wanted to love everything here, but those moments....they drag down a novel that had potential to be much, much stronger.
*I really do not want to watch Dennis Miller.