A modern master of suspense revives the series that initially earned him a hard-core following.
Before Lehane attracted a lot more attention through the film adaptation of his Mystic River (2001) and then made a major literary leap with The Given Day (2008), the author had built a loyal fan base through a series of detective novels featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. In this sequel to Gone, Baby, Gone (1998), they are no longer partners as Boston private investigators but a married couple with a four-year-old daughter. Patrick freelances for a venerable firm that caters to the city’s power elite, where he wrestles with the morality of his work but hopes for a full-time job. While Angie finishes grad school, they are all but broke. Twelve years earlier, they’d been racked by the case of a kidnapped four-year-old, Amanda McCready, when they rescued her from a couple who only wanted the best for her and returned her to her unfit mother. Now Amanda has disappeared again, and Patrick must decide whether to revisit a case that had caused his estrangement from Angie for over a year, and which now could threaten their domesticity and their daughter. As a return to earlier form for Lehane, the novel lacks the psychological depth and thematic ambition of his recent work, but its wise-cracking dialogue, page-turning (though convoluted) plot and protagonists who are all the more likable for their flaws extend the addictive spirit of the series. “When your daughter asks what you stand for, don’t you want to be able to answer her?” Angie challenges her husband. To do so, he becomes enmeshed with the Russian Mob, shifting allegiances and a wise-beyond-her-years, 16-year-old Amanda, who rubs his nose in the aftereffects of his earlier involvement with her. By the breathless climax, it may appear that this book is the last in the series. But Lehane has fooled us before.