Books by Charles Kenney

NON-FICTION
Released: May 6, 2014

"While the book gives outsiders a peek into the inner workings of a large medical group, its message is directed primarily at members of the medical profession, more specifically, to those in management positions."
The executive director of the Permanente Foundation argues that physicians are the key to creating a health care system that is patient-centered, safe, equitable, accessible and affordable. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: July 1, 2008

"Strictly for the already converted."
A cheerleading look at how some healthcare professionals are trying to improve quality by changing the way doctors and hospitals handle patients. Read full book review >
RESCUE MEN by Charles Kenney
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

"Some poignant stories, lots of ambition, but the result is but a flicker of a flame."
The evolving fortunes of a large Boston firefighting family, the Cocoanut Grove fire of 1942, the changing racial politics of Bean Town, the redemptive powers of work and writing—all intermixed with accounts of the derring-do of fire-and-rescue teams. Read full book review >
THE LAST MAN by Charles Kenney
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: July 1, 2001

"Two-and-a-half good stories, marred by, respectively, implausibility, sentimentality, and a desire to wrap up things too neatly."
Light is shed on a host of secrets buried in the pasts of two separate but casually linked families when an elderly concentration-camp survivor, now living in the Boston area, spots a man she believes is the last unaccountable figure in a group photo of Nazis she's carried with her for decades. Read full book review >
THE SON OF JOHN DEVLIN by Charles Kenney
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

A blandly plotted attempt to write a character-driven, mean-streets cop drama without the sex and violence demanded by the genre. Betrayal hangs heavily on the rugged broad shoulders of Boston Police Detective Jack Devlin in this third from former Boston Globe editor Kenney (Hammurabi's Code, 1995, etc.). Currently investigating corrupt cops, Devlin bears a cross for his namesake father, a Boston beat cop who was caught taking payoffs by the FBI and who committed suicide before the facts of the case could become known. Motherless when his father died, the nine-year-old orphan Jack was raised by unfeeling relatives and mentored by kindly Boston PD Superintendent William Kennedy, his father's former partner. Devlin turns his back on a career in pro-hockey and tosses his Harvard Law degree to follow (literally) in his father's footsteps when he discovers an old note from the father in which dad professed his innocence and implied he was framed. Years pass—too many for the story to be credible—and Devlin, conveniently single and alienated from everyone but his motormouthed partner Del Rio, falls in love with feisty but beautiful Assistant US Attorney Emily Lawrence, who falls just as fast for Devlin when she glimpses him in church to mourn his father. What she doesn't see is Devlin manipulating a vast drug investigation, conducted by Lawrence and oafish FBI agent Kevin Duffy. Though Kenney vividly portrays the nasty rivalries that pit cop against cop, his routine, by-the-numbers plotting holds no surprises. Lawrence will too simply trust her heart instead of her handcuffs when she discovers evidence that Devlin's up to no good, and Devlin's apparently shady dealings will smoke out the cop who framed his father. A sensitive but dull revenger, solemn and high-minded. Read full book review >
HAMMURABI'S CODE by Charles Kenney
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: April 1, 1995

The murder of a respected public official brings to light his seamy personal dealings—in this first novel by a Boston Globe reporter. Kenney's profession would be obvious to many readers, even if it were not stated, because of his attention to detail and his straightforward recounting of scenes. Unfortunately, he reports more often than he shows, sapping events of much of their dramatic and emotional potential. The story follows the efforts of ace Boston Post reporter Frank Cronin to bring to light the secret criminal activities of murdered Councillor Phillip Stewart, much beloved because of his work on behalf of Boston's poorest citizens. While he's continually stymied in his efforts by power brokers— from the Kennedys to a local ``poverty priest'' and even to his own editor—Cronin turns up witnesses and evidence that can't be ignored. This proves to be a serious problem in the story, as there are so many people who have at least some knowledge of Stewart's venality that it seems ludicrous that it hasn't come to light previously. Kenney also is weak on dialogue, particularly in scenes between Cronin and prosecutor Susan Sloane, as the two renew a love affair that had ended before the book opens. Much of their time together is used to present the reader with the story of Cronin's childhood and to hint at the fate of the weakling brother for whom he has been responsible all his life. The title's reference to the ancient collection of Babylonian law may offer some clue where things are going, but readers may be unsatisfied once they get there. After several red herrings, the story is resolved by a final revelation for which the ground-work is poorly laid, and the ``shock'' ending is dragged out long after it becomes obvious. Disappointing. Read full book review >