Lehane is Le Handy with a Pen

Gone Baby GoneI just watched Gone Baby Gone last night. It was our weekend treat rental and it did not let us down. I’d read the book by Dennis Lehane long enough ago that I’d forgotten most of it. The screenplay by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard seemed to keep pretty close to the book, to the best of my knowledge, and Affleck did a terrific job of directing the action so it seemed real, with Boston as much of a character as the human ones. I can divulge very little of the story without it turning into spoiler city over here at WordHappy, so suffice it to say that the story, whether you read the book or watch the movie, deals in a billion shades of gray – no black and white conclusions for this writer. As I watched it, I was certain that as David Simon was dreaming up writers for THE WIRE, he’d read Lehane and thought, “We have to get that guy. He gets us.”

But after I finished watching the movie, I was left with a severe jonesing for some more Lehane. And while I’d loved the film, I was left thinking that as good as it was, it missed a lot of the humor that I seemed to remember the Lehane books having. So I went back to the last of the Patrick Kenzie-Angie Gennaro series, [Note to Dennis Lehane if you read this: WHEN is the next Kenzie book coming? You promised there would be another one. You promised.] Prayers for Rain, and just skimmed it for the style, tone, and humor:

Cody Falk drove a pearl-gray Audi Quattro, and at nine-thirty that night, we watched him exit the Mount Auburn Club, his hair freshly combed and still wet, the butt of a tennis racket sticking out of his gym bag. He wore a soft black leather jacket over a cream linen vest, a white shirt buttoned at the throat, and faded jeans. He was very tan. He moved like he expected things to get out of his way.

“I really hate this guy,” I said to Bubba. “And I don’t even know him.”

“Hate’s cool,” Bubba said. “Don’t cost nothing.”

I love that in the space of a paragraph, Lehane throws off just enough details to make us despise this Cody character, then has Patrick mirror that reaction, thereby making us love Patrick. Slick, that.

For anyone who hasn’t read Dennis Lehane, get thee to the library or bookstore immediately. I love the Patrick Kenzie series, so start at the beginning, with A Drink Before the War. Of course, don’t blame me if you ignore your loved ones and professional obligations while you plow through the series.

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