cover image Sacred


Dennis Lehane. William Morrow & Company, $23 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-688-14381-7

Sharp verbal patter, a noirish kind of good/bad girl and a dying and quite possibly sinister old man all enliven this third stellar effort from the author of the Shamus Award-winning A Drink Before the War and Darkness, Take My Hand. PI Angela Gennaro lost her husband, and her partner, Patrick Kenzie, lost much of the skin from his face in their last outing. Now the Boston-based sleuthing partners are recovering nicely, slowly succumbing to a mutual attraction and searching for a missing girl. Billionaire Trevor Stone, dying of cancer, hires Patrick and Angie to find his daughter Desiree only after his first choice, Jay Becker, who was Patrick's mentor, disappeared during his quest for Desiree. The young woman was last seen at the highly questionable Grief Release Inc., getting over the year-old murder of her mother and hanging out with Sean Price. After Price ripped off the group, Desiree vanished with him. Is Trevor on the level? Is Desiree a wounded angel or something else entirely? While following the trail, Angie and Patrick emerge, in Patrick's smart and often funny narration, as boldly sketched characters who leap fully formed from the pages. For most of the novel, the punishing pace and internal plot logic perform in perfect tandem. Only Desiree's long-delayed entrance and an over-the-top ending are jarring. In all other respects, Lehane proves he belongs in the big leagues with another gritty and surpassingly entertaining mystery. Major ad/promo; 13-city author tour. (Aug.)