I’ve long been a fan of Dennis Lehane’s novels featuring engaging duo Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. Gone, Baby, Gone is the fourth book in the series, and is far and away my favorite. I hadn’t planned on writing about it this week, but with Boston on my mind, it seemed like the perfect time to pay it homage because there’s no one out there who can capture the mood and movement of Boston better than Dennis Lehane.
This isn’t a feel good book, know that from the start. It deals with tough issues-kidnapping and child abuse-and the ending isn’t what you’d call uplifting. It begins with Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro (private investigators with a long personal history) being asked to look into the disappearance of four-year-old Amanda McCready. Amanda’s whole existence has been dominated by a mother who is careless at best and downright neglectful at worst.
One night, after Amanda is left alone in their apartment, she goes missing. Her disappearance sends the PI’s through a series of run-ins with cops, drug lords, the justice department and pedophiles. Mixed up in all of this is a whole lot of missing drug money, and no one seems to know who has it.
Amanda is presumed dead until Patrick runs into her devastated mother months later and new questions arise. When Patrick and Angie reopen their investigation, they discover that the whole kidnapping had been planned in order to get Amanda away from her mother’s care. But who has Amanda now, and why? The ending is full of twists that I, at least, didn’t see coming. It will make you question who the good guys are in this story and wonder what is more important: being right, or being righteous?
A word of caution: if you don’t want the other books in the series spoiled, you’ll want to read those first.