GONE, BABY, GONE
Probably the best of the Patrick and Angie novels and Lehane’s best one before Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone is an emotional rollercoaster that leaves our two intrepid detectives damaged, perhaps beyond repair. It begins with Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro trying not to take the case of missing 4-year-old Amanda McCready. It’s the child’s aunt and uncle who hire the pair, as Amanda’s mother seems obsessed with the latest shouting match on Springer and when her tearful plea for her daughter will appear on television. Soon, Patrick and Angie are assisting two child crimes cops named Poole and Remy and looking at a mean Swede named Cheese Olamon. The hunt for Amanda results in an upheaval in Boston’s drug trade when several major players are taken out. Of course, Lehane doesn’t end it there, and the ultimate truth about Amanda’s disappearance rips Patrick and Angie apart as partners and lovers.
A vast improvement over the Moonlightingesque Sacred and darker and richer than Lehane’s previous masterpiece, Darkness Take My Hand.
Full disclosure: Kent Westmoreland and I shared a publisher. My book came out before the crash. His did not.
I was pleased to see this one on Kindle as I knew about it long before Kent signed with my former publisher.
Burleigh Drummond is a fixer in pre-Katrina New Orleans. He “quiet manipulates” situations for the Big Easy’s rich and powerful. It’s a job that allows him lifestyle of expensive clothes, expensive cars, and expensive girlfriends. When one of those girlfriends leaves him a message as she is dying from a brutal assault, Drummond goes from cleaning up the messes of the city’s elite to a man on a mission. And if it brings down a mayor and even one of his own clients, so be it.
Drummond is something of a private version of James Bond. He’s suave, well-dressed, and moves in rarified circles. Sometimes, his taste for the finer things gets in the way of the story, but over all, Westmoreland does a good job sending his well-chiseled creation careening toward the breaking point. An excellent first effort long overdue to see the light of day.
CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF
An unusually short tome from the master of horror, 1985’s Cycle of the Werewolf is an illustrated story depicting a werewolf’s reign of terror over one year in isolated Tarker’s Mill, Maine. Why not Castle Rock? Well, Castle Rock’s gotten too big by the time King got around to writing this one.
King admits to tweaking the lunar cycle so that the full moon can fall on Valentine’s Day, the Fourth of July, and New Year’s Eve, not really possible, given the moon’s 28-day cycle. But the dramatic license serves to enhance the plot. Early on, the story is episodic, from the werewolf’s explosive first appearance to the sexually-tinged (and illustrated) attack on a lonely woman on Valentine’s Day to a local pastor’s horrific nightmare of his congregation all turning to wolves the night the church janitor is killed.
The story becomes more cohesive when, on the Fourth, a paralyzed boy named Marty Coslaw wounds the werewolf – and the human it overcomes each month – and the attacks throughout the rest of the year slowly draw the werewolf into the light.