Fat Books & Thin Women

#fridayreads: Dennis Lehane

One of my favorite new (to me) book blogs, Picky Girl, is doing a new meme, #Fridayreads take me away. I’m pretty much reading solely for escapism right now so can’t claim that the books I read on the weekends are any different from my Monday – Thursday books, but still….

I’ve been going through a big Dennis Lehane thing lately. I read A Drink Before the War in late February, then took a respectable break – but I’ve been sick, with lots of time to lay around reading, and in the past week or so have put away Darkness, Take My Hand, Sacred, and Gone, Baby, Gone. The last was my “fridayread” for this week, only it’s halfway through the day and I just finished it, so I guess I’ll be moving on to the fifth book in his Kenzie/Gennaro series, Prayers for Rain.

At some point I’ll probably do a real post on Lehane, an improvement over the review I did of A Drink Before the War. For now, I can’t say a whole lot except that it feels good to remember the way it feels to discover an author with a healthy backlist, to fall into the lives of characters who I know I’ll be able to read about for two more books. Lulu over at What Book Today? is pretty crushing in her appraisal of the focus on the personal lives of Kenzie and Gennaro in the latest installment in this series, Moonlight Mile, but for now it’s something I’m enjoying. Lehane is great at character development, and the occasional glimpses into their private lives adds something to the books – it makes it easier to understand why Kenzie and Gennaro treat their work or certain classes of criminals the way they do.

Besides the character development, my god, Lehane pulls off the gore well. Darkness, Take My Hand has a serial killer torturing and butchering his victims, then leaving little bits of them scattered around, like when Kenzie finds a pair of eyeballs in his kitchen cupboard. I didn’t like Sacred as much as that second book (it would be hard to match it) but again, Lehane has this skill for characters who are almost out of this world in terms of their moral views, but who I believe in absolutely. He casts his net wide, too, and it’s alternately fun and disturbing to see the way those in power (politicians, the rich, the police) influence or mastermind the crimes Kenzie and Gennaro investigate.

I’m telling myself now that I’m going to read the Orange Prize nominee White Woman on the Green Bicycle next, but let’s face it – it’s going to be Lehane’s Prayers for Rain. I want to delay reading any more of these novels to make them last longer, but now that I’ve fallen prey to Lehane it is really, really hard to find my way out.

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Yay! So glad you joined in. I have only ever read one Lehane years ago for a criminal film and fiction class, and right now I can’t remember the name. I remember enjoying it, though, so I need to check out the backlist!

Comment by jenn aka the picky girl

I read my first Lehane, Moonlight Mile, last year. I was leery, because I’m not a big mystery person, but I did enjoy the book. Don’t you love it when you find an author who’s kept writing about characters you like?? Enjoy!

Comment by Erin

I recently picked up Mystic River b/c @BenoitLelievre recommended it as the book that made him want to write. I’ve seen the movie, which was good, as well as Gone Baby Gone. I can’t believe you’ve flown through so many in a week! I feel like such a slow reader, compared to all the book bloggers out there. (Also, did you change your site back to the way it was or is my computer just stuck in the past?)

Comment by zeteticat

you’re not going crazy – i switched it back. i was getting homesick for the big header.

i think i was sick for about half of that week, so i couldn’t leave my house…but also i don’t work a 40 hour week here, i get some weird days when i don’t have much to do. my reading has slowed down a LOT since that lehane week, though.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

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