Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood twelve years ago. Desperate pleas for help from the child's aunt led investigators Kenzie and Gennaro to take on the case. The pair risked everything to find the young girl—only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home.
Now Amanda is sixteen—and gone again. A stellar student, brilliant but aloof, she seemed destined to escape her upbringing. Yet Amanda's aunt is once more knocking on Patrick Kenzie's door, fearing the worst for the little girl who has blossomed into a striking, clever young woman—a woman who hasn't been seen in weeks.
Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, a mentally unstable crime boss and his equally demented wife, a priceless, thousand-year-old cross, and a happily homicidal Russian gangster. It's a world in which motives and allegiances constantly shift and mistakes are fatal.
In their desperate fight to confront the past and find Amanda McCready, Kenzie and Gennaro will be forced to question if it's possible to do the wrong thing and still be right or to do the right thing and still be wrong. As they face an evil that goes beyond broken families and broken dreams, they discover that the sins of yesterday don't always stay buried and the crimes of today could end their lives.
My Take: I have never read a Dennis Lehane book so this was a surprise for me. The product description does not do this book justice. It simply can't. Reading over what the publishers wrote, I think of the voice of Law & Order (clunk, clunk) and it sounds so dark and serious.
Yes, the material is serious stuff; (clunk, clunk) Russian mafia, child kidnapping, child trafficking, murder, blood and gore, but dialogue is hilarious. Truly laugh-out-loud. Clever, quick, witty, and I really wish that Dennis Lehane wrote for Law & Order.
I would love to provide a quote from the book but I read an Advanced Reader Copy so some things may have been removed or changed but, with all the carnage and dark crime going on, I kept laughing out loud. There are a lot of references to pop culture (I can't believe they canceled Arrested Development, either), and the author is well versed in many different aspects of culture and social science. His intelligence and sense of humor are infused into the characters. That being said, each character is distinctly different but they seemed to have a few commonalities that can not be ignored.
They all had a potty mouth. Big time.
I've decided to give a report card on this book.
Story development: A-
Character development: A
I really liked it.