Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dennis Lehane's Gone, Baby, Gone

For anyone that has read Lehane's books, you know he's not gentle in his plots. Often times, I have a sense of heaviness when I finish one. Gone, Baby, Gone was no different, and it struck home with the type of choice I dread ever having to make. The choice between moral conscience and the law.

Beware of spoilers.

A four year old little girl, Amanda McCready, is kidnapped and P.Is Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired by the child's uncle and aunt to find her. Her negligent mother, Helene, claims she put her daughter to bed and went next door to watch television with a friend, the next morning, she discovers her daughter is gone. What she fails to mention is the trip to a bar and getting stoned while she was out. This is just the latest in a long string of abhorrent events in the little girls life. A week before her kidnapping, Amanda was left sleeping on the beach while the mom went out shopping with her friend. Helene, tired of the little girls crying, finally took her to her brother to deal with her saying she was being "a bitch". The little girls uncle, seeing his niece's face and back, promptly took her to the hospital and was told Amanda was just short of having third degree burns from being left in the sun too long without sunscreen. The poor 4 year old could do nothing but cry from the pain. Patrick and Angela, knowing all of this, must now ask themselves, when they find her, will they admit to it and give the girl back to her mom, who she legally belongs to? Or, do they follow their conscience and save the girls life?

It's not an easy choice, and Lehane tackles it with the brutality that seems to encompass his stories. His is not an easy world.
Devin reached into his pocket and removed a cell phone, dialed 411. When the operator answered, he said, "West Beckett Sheriff's office, please." He repeated the number under his breath as she gave it to him, then punched the numbers into his cell phone keypad.

Before he could press send, Angie put a hand on his wrist. "What are you doing, Devin?"

"What are you doing, Ange?" he looked at her hand.

"You're going to arrest them?"

He looked up at the house, then back at her and scowled. "Yes, Angie, I'm going to arrest them."

"You can't."

He pulled his hand away from her. "Oh, yes, I can."

"No. She's --" Angie pointed through the trees. "Haven't you been watching? They're good for her. They're...Christ, Devin, they love her."

"They kidnapped her, " he said. "Were you awake for that part?"

"Devin, no. She's..." Angie lowered her head for a moment. "If we arrest them, they'll give Amanda back to Helene. She'll suck the life out of her."

Also, in case you are interested, I've discovered a movie was once made based on Gone, Baby, Gone IMDB

Should be interesting.

Gone, Baby, Gone


seana said...

No spoilers for me, as I read it some time ago. I don't know if we've talked about the fact that his new book Moonlight Mile is a sequel of sorts. Let's just say the ethical questions don't get any easier.

Glenna said...

Seana, I saw that and I'm glad we get to find out what happens with Amanda...I think. I actually just finished Prayers For Rain today, (lots of reading time this weekend amazingly enough), and have Moonlight Mile waiting on the Kindle. I'm looking forward to it.

seana said...

Well, it takes you pretty far into the future from the original novels, but once you get used to that, you should be fine...

I forgot to say excellent reviewing style, as usual.

Glenna said...


Lehane's novels bring to mind that I've heard authors say crime fiction is a way to explore societies darker side, and honestly, with most novels, I wonder how the author thinks he/she is accomplishing that above and beyond entertaining. Maybe I'm just not to that point in analyzation yet. With Lehane however, I find it obvious. Those ethical questions are one thing I like about his books, even if I hope to never personally have to deal with them.

Glenna said...

Seana, I see what you mean by ethical questions. Not even half way and I think I could have easily gotten on one of my soap boxes.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I have tried to read a couple of DH's novels,but could never get into them, but I'm willing to give it another shot. I watched GBG on cable but didn't really like it too much.

Glenna said...

Sean, A Drink Before the War, the first book in the Kenzie/Gennaro series, gave me a bit of a hard time story wise, and it was mainly the relationship between the main characters that kept me reading the series. I love their interactions. I also found that as the series went on, I had to know what happened, despite the harshness of the story.

As for the movie, I'm going to try to watch it soon. I don't expect much seeing as how I rarely like a movie made from a book I've read, but I'm curious.