Friday, July 27, 2012

A guy who used a minefield for home protection were telling us Jack and Kevin weren't stable

I thought I liked A Drink Before The War. And I did. I do. Even after I started Darkness, Take My Hand I thought "This is nice and all but I prefer Drink." I'm not sure at exactly what point that changed. But it changed. Now as I said, I still like A Drink Before The War but Darkness wins.

Kenzie and Gennaro have another case. This time a friend of a friend is afraid she's being targeted by the mob. See she's a counselor/psychiatrist at a local school and one day this young woman comes in and is very nervous that her boyfriend, who is in the mob, is after her. The girl gives this woman the last name "Kenzie" and isn't actually enrolled into the school. Then she receives a picture of her son, but it's ominous because it's taken from far away and there's no note with it but the implication is "We're watching you and your loved ones." And just like last time, a case that seems relatively straightforward at first turns out to be an insane and violent and dangerous journey.

Lehane's stories often seem to be about the most horrible people possible. And the idea that these people exist not only as aberrations, but in huge numbers. His novels are mostly populated by awful, violent, hateful people, and you while reading him you can forget the world isn't so dark. And if your world is as awful as the one in a Lehane book, please seek professional help.

Even the good guys can be evil. And it can be hard to rectify this as you find yourself cheering for a psychopath. Not the main characters, Kenzie and Gennaro. I'm not sure I could take the books if they were as awful as the people they're going after. They have a friend Bubba who is a violent psychopath. But, you see, he's our violent psychopath. (Yes, I'm including myself in this group.) For reasons that aren't entirely clear he is fiercely loyal to Patrick and Angie. It's a little like having a guard dog. A guard dog that has surrounded his house in strategically placed land mines and is an arms dealer. But if Patrick or Angie tell him to make sure no one hurts someone they care about, you can be sure Bubba will make sure that person is not hurt. Sure, he'll enjoy himself while he's beating up whoever tried to hurt Patrick and Angie's friends, and that's where you think that maybe you shouldn't be cheering him on. But then you remember what this pummel-ee was trying to do and you're like "Punch him in the neck, Bubba!*"

Lehane's stuff is bleak. The stories are bleak. The worlds are bleak. But they're so good. I want moar. I want more Kenzie/Gennaro (and there's more in the series, so lucky me). I want more Lehane (and there's Shutter Island, so lucky me again).

Side note but since I saw the movie Gone, Baby, Gone before reading any of the Kenzie/Gennaro stories I can't help but picture Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as Patrick and Angie. Not a bad thing or a good thing, just something I couldn't break myself from doing and made me laugh a little when Patrick says he'd grown a beard. Probably because I also can't help but picture Casey Affleck as the annoying kid from Good Will Hunting and that kid can't grow a beard. Silly rabbit.

*I often say "punch him in the neck" because I watched way too much Kevin Smith when I was younger and Joey Lauren Adams yells that during a hockey game in Chasing Amy. Why am I telling you this? To tell you that since Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck are buddies and Ben Affleck's little brother Casey has a cameo in Chasing Amy AND he played Kenzie in Gone, Baby, Gone as I've already mentioned in this post. I'm just playing 6 degrees, is what I'm getting at. Also two posts about all the darkness that is a Lehane novel is a lot, so I needed to lighten the mood.

Title quote from page 32

Lehane, Dennis. Darkness, Take My Hand. Harper Collins, 1996.