Go to Homepage   Dennis Lehane: Prayers for Rain


William Morrow & Company (Hardcover),
ISBN 0-688-15333-X
Planning to kill someone? Sick of the usual murder implements? Try a new technique -- psychological destruction! Invade your victim's life, orchestrate disastrous events, unravel reality. Dominate the psyche. Devastate the soul. Drive your victim to self-help -- suicide!  

Need examples of cruel acts? Dennis Lehane describes plenty in Prayers for Rain, the fifth book in his hard-boiled Kenzie/Gennaro series set in Boston. Patrick Kenzie, Angela Gennaro, and lethal but lovable Bubba Rogowski confront a genius of mind control, who is seemingly untouchable and all-powerful. 

As Prayers for Rain opens, Patrick's life hits bottom. Private investigation no longer satisfies him. Angie broke off their professional and personal relationship after a previous case in book four, Gone, Baby, Gone. He hasn't seen her in months. (Lehane, however, provides sufficient information about their past so first-time readers won't feel left out.) 

One afternoon, the radio reports that a young woman -- one of Patrick's former clients -- jumped naked from a 24-story Boston building. The woman's suicide distresses Patrick. Six months before her death Karen Nichols retained Patrick to deter a stalker. He cannot reconcile Karen's final action with the wide-eyed innocent who hired him.  

Guilt also haunts him. Several weeks after the job, Karen Nichols left a cryptic message on Patrick's answering machine. He never called back. Convinced Karen's death is no suicide, Patrick begins probing.

In Prayers for Rain Dennis Lehane depicts a convoluted and chaotic universe. Nothing is as it seems. Revelation leads only to refutation. Characters cover up identities and relationships. Secrets abound. Discoveries taint one character after another. Questions arise. Does the perpetrator have confederates? Who are "they?" Who is the real mastermind behind this chess game? 

Lehane's hard-driving narrative maintains its speed. He endows his characters, even minor ones, with depth. The natural dialogue possesses reality and nuance. Descriptions of people and places reveal character. Humor relieves the ugliness. Finally, Lehane's portrayal of the loyalty and love between Patrick, Angie and Bubba enables the reader to feel their bond. 

WARNING! This hard-boiled novel about psychological warfare contains explicit sex, violence and "adult" language. True to its genre, Prayers for Rain is not for the fainthearted or easily offended. 

Lynn I. Miller

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