Patrick Kenzie is a Dorchester, Mass., boy born and bred. Now, working out of a church belfry as a private detective (along with partner Angela Gennaro, who has been his best friend since childhood and suffers at the hands of an abusive husband), he is hired by a senator to locate some papers reportedly stolen by an African-American (the senator uses a less polite term) cleaning woman. When the woman is gunned down in downtown Boston, it becomes clear that the materials in her possession were not the government documents the senator had claimed. The sure pacing, humor, and clear sense of place are unusually strong for a debut novel. Lehane's depictions of working-class Dorchester and the great divide between its Irish-American and African-American inhabitants are so on-target the reader could practically use them as a map and drive right into town. Even better are the descriptions of local foibles. Kenzie recounts that a friend had once been successful at removing a Denver boot (a clamp, which makes it impossible to move a car, placed around a car's tire after too many traffic tickets) and was downhearted to find that it was a fluke and that he would not be "making more money than Michael Jackson." There is a lot of gun play here, and plenty of other violence too. Not only does Gennaro regularly come into work with black eyes, but Kenzie also recalls his firefighter father, a man whom he sarcastically refers to as "the Hero," but who was brutal in his own home. A lively debut about residents of the Boston metropolitan area who don't summer in Hyannisport.