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1 rating: 3.0
A book by Lutterworth Press

A dying billionaire hires private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro to find his missing daughter, after the first investigator on the case has disappeared. They are about to enter a world of corruption where nothing is what it seems, and the … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Lutterworth Press
Publisher: Severn House Pub Ltd
Date Published: November 30, 2007
1 review about Sacred

Sacred Nothing

  • Oct 8, 2008
Pros: Lehane avoids the fish-out-of-water trap

Cons: Florida setting still doesn't seem real

The Bottom Line: There should be nothing sacred in the world!

In Sacred, Dennis Lehane's third novel featuring Boston private eyes Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, the author spends time doing something a little different. Much of the book takes place in Florida, a place where Patrick and Angela have never been before.

When we first catch up to our favorite Dorchester detectives, it has only been five months since Patrick and Angela have discovered and put an end to the grotesque muder spree of the serial killers from Darkness, Take My Hand. And those five months haven't been enough for the nasty mental scars to fade into the backs of their heads for good. In fact, the two of them have been so deeply shattered by the whole experience that they closed down their detective agency and have mostly spent the immediate aftermath drinking beer and watching old movies. They've cut off their ties to their PI lives pretty completely, not checking messages, ignoring mail, things of that nature.

This proves to be a difficult obstacle for a potential client named Trevor Stone, who just can't get ahold of Patrick and Angie. So he resorts to a more personal method of getting their attention: He has his two goons - whom Patrick humorously nicknames Lurch and The Weeble - watch them, them kidnap them and take them back to Trevor's enormous mansion. Trevor is a dying billionaire, you see, and it seems his daughter, Desiree, has disappeared. So has Jay Becker, a detective Trevor hired from one of Boston's top PI firms to find her. And it also seems that Trevor, who only has five more months before cancer calls the Reaper, wants to know if Desiree is dead or alive before his final number is called. Trevor has kidnapped Patrick and Angela to offer them twenty grand to reject searching for Desiree. If they take up the case, he's paying fifty grand! Needless to say, Patrick and Angie dive right in.

After dealing with a cult called Grief Release where Desiree apparently sought to release her grief, Patrick and Angie find themselves in a whole lot of hot water. What follows them on the way to Desiree is a trail with more twists than a typical video game dungeon. Dead people come back, allies become foes, and I know I'm spouting a cliche here, but nothing is what it seems to be. In the words used by Angela, black is white, up is down.

A large chunk of Sacred takes place in Tampa, Florida. Lehane comes dangerously close to fish-out-of-water territory by plucking his two main characters and placing them outside of their (and Lehane's) known universe. I can't really say it pays off because Tampa utterly fails to become a character the way Boston is in this series. Patrick and Angie spend a lot of time just lounging around in their hotel, which Trevor is paying for. They also assimilate because they're enjoying their vacation away from freezing Boston. The writing certainly isn't bad - the book is told from Kenzie's gritty, biting, cynical point of view - but there's not much being described about Tampa. But this may actually be Dennis Lehane being a genius. After all, it IS Patrick's first visit to Florida. How is he supposed to know what's coming? Lehane also gets points for avoiding the aforementioned fish-out-of-water trap.

A major event is rocking Lehane's universe: Bubba Rogowski, a major character in the series, is heading off to the county jail for a yearlong visit. Since Bubba has been the longtime protector of Patrick and Angela, in many other crime novels Bubba's dsiappearance would be an excuse for an enterprising villain to take advantage of the character not being there. It's become an annoying plot device which usually is used to make the bad guys look even more evil, but Lehane again manages to avoid this. When Bubba turns up at county to begin his sentence, that's the last we hear of him in Sacred. No bad guys hear about it and try to take advantage. But what Bubba's lock-up does is provide Lehane to introduce an equally compelling character: Jay Becker, who trained Patrick. Jay calls Patrick D'artagnon, and Patrick calls Jay his god. Jay is slick and stylish, loves old movies, and watches over Patrick like a big brother. He also has some very interesting information of Desiree's whereabouts.

Oscar and Devin don't play as big a role in Sacred either. They're mentioned a couple of times close to the beginning, but they kind of just disappear after that.

One of the biggest surprises in Sacred is the way Patrick and Angela punish the villains once they find out who they're after. It's kind of cruel mentally, and it reveals a dark side never before seen in either character. With it, Patrick and Angie move from being merely cynical into full-fledged anti-hero territory. The ride there is interesting and will keep you up nights. While the Florida setting probably could have been used better, and Jay could have had a bigger role in the rest of the series, it's hard to fault Sacred. I liked this book. It isn't as violent or compelling as Darkness, Take My Hand, but it still stands tall.


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