SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t read the previous books in the Kenzie-Gennaro series yet, you may want to skip this review and the final installment, Moonlight Mile, when it posts tomorrow, as both contain spoilers.
When a former client jumps naked from a Boston landmark, Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie wants to know why. Once a perky young woman in love with life, her suicide is the final fall in a spiral of self-destruction.
What Kenzie discovers is a sadistic stalker who targeted the woman and methodically drove her to her death – a monster that the law can’t touch.
But Kenzie can. He and his former partner, Angela Gennaro, will fight a mind-twisting battle against the psychopath, even as he turns tricks on them . . .
Prayers for Rain is another superior thriller from Dennis Lehane, the bestselling and acclaimed author of Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone, Baby, Gone.
I absolutely love this story, for so many reasons, not the least of which is because it’s the first Lehane book I ever read. Yes, it’s book five but I had no clue at the time. Prayers For Rain introduced me to the author more than a decade ago and he remains a favorite still today.
Time has passed since the events in Gone, Baby, Gone and the Patrick Kenzie we meet isn’t the one we know and love, he’s a shell of that man. He and Angie split up because of the way the Amanda McCready case ended. She’s gone to work for a corporate security outfit and he works alone but no longer seems to have the stomach for this job.
Patrick learns that a former client committed suicide and he’s wracked with guilt when he recalls a recent unreturned message from her. Karen Nichols was a sweet young lady with a picture perfect life and a seemingly minor problem for him to solve, so her death is shocking. He wonders what drove poor this woman to her death and learns her picturesque life began falling apart almost instantly after they parted ways.
Those around him question Patrick’s need to understand Karen’s decline and the bent of vigilantism he shows in the quest. But his instincts prove to be correct when he discovers Karen Nichols was driven to suicide by an unknown enemy. Someone carefully orchestrated the destruction of every aspect of her life in rapid succession, leaving her homeless, penniless and alone after even causing her family to turn their backs.
Her story is so compelling, it provides the leverage needed to finally entice Angie back to their partnership. Bubba plays his biggest role yet and shines as always, bringing humor and a few surprises. It doesn’t take long for Karen’s tormentor to notice Patrick and focus on him, so once again, our MC’s begin as the hunters but soon become prey.
This story, although still dealing with some heavy subject matter at specific points, is far lighter and funnier than the darkest of the series, so it’s a nice breath of fresh air. The passage of time and the ways their lives have changed are great touches and somewhat surprising, considering how the series kept ripping out my heart and stomping all over it.
I’d dare say that the ending to this story is the gritty series’ own version of happily ever after, which was a lovely surprise.
Prayers For Rain on Amazon.