Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Prayers For Rain. I'm reading all these books, one by one. This one is decent too.

It's no Gone Baby Gone, but Prayers For Rain is a pretty good book. Same characters, same location, same everything. This one picks up pretty much where Gone Baby Gone left off, with Patrick Kenzie separated from his former girlfriend, Angie Gennaro. Kenzie is keeping his private detective business going with little cases and small-time work here and there. One of those cases is a man who is harassing a woman, and Kenzie puts a stop to it. Then that same woman, a few months later, takes a naked header off a very tall building in Boston, and Kenzie takes it upon himself to figure out what drove her to do so. His gigantic cohort Bubba figures very prominently in this novel, more so than in previous ones, and of course Angie comes back by the time the real investigation begins. Better to keep the basic structure of the team intact, eh? However, where Gone Baby Gone is compelling and a real page-turner throughout, this one runs out of steam toward the end. I am still, of course, picturing Casey Affleck as I read this.

The investigation leads to geniuses and psychiatrists and psychopaths and Hannibal-Lecter like events. Which ought to lead to a Silence-of-the-Lambs worthy conclusion. The whole point of the story was that the people involved in this crime are smarter than the people investigating that crime. But the end is not worthy of the intense buildup. Apparently, although the criminals are masterminds and geniuses and can manipulate the psyches of people at will, they can still be brought down through brute force. You see, you can plan a brilliant scheme, and create a perfect crime, and be as sadsitic and maniacal as you wish, but if someone shows up somehow at the right place and the right time, and is willing to shoot a lot of bullets at you, then your crime was not that perfect after all. And the final revelation was obvious to me the second I saw it, three chapters earlier. Yet not to our detectives. Who are very stupid in that instance, yet incredibly are smart enough to outwit the Hannibal Lecters of the world.

I keep referencing Hannibal Lecter. I just mean in a genius-psychiatrist-psychopath-criminal-mastermind sort of way. Not in the flesh-eating kind of way. Prayers For Rain is decent, but it's one of the weaker books in Dennis Lahane's Kenzie and Gennaro oeuvre.

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