Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...
This book had both the makings of greatness and potential disaster for me. For one, high-marks in gritty detectivery (not a real word) from a trusted source or two had me going in with high expectations. Then there are the elements of the story itself. A guy/girl PI duo, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, could make for tension-laced banter (see Archer and Lana for the spyland ideal), but I'm not a fan of romance when it encroaches on the territory of my mystery plots. Likewise, the geographical setting is one I know well, Boston (it even has a shoutout, albeit an ignominious one, to my home town of Marblehead toward the end). When done right, I love reading about places I know and Lehane has done Boston oh so well in the past (e.g. The Given Day). However, I can also be easily distracted by anything anatopistic (yes, I had to look that word up, anatopism is to space as anachronism is to time).
So how did it go? Well, as you might have guessed from the stars (review stars, not astromancy), pretty darn well. Dennis Lehane leverages two of Boston's notorious institutions, dirty politics and bad race relations, into a story that breathes into the world around it. It speaks to my own willful blindness to the well-being of bigotry in the world around me that I had trouble figuring out the time period during which the story takes place (musical references to Lou Reed, and U2 had me off by a few decades before Lehane dropped in mentions of Urban Outfitters, Store 24 and the now closed Filene's store landed me somewhere near the time of the book's publication in the early 90s- corrections welcome!)
Long of the short, consider me signed up for the next one.