Darkness, Take My Hand (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series #2)

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Lehane's stunning thriller sees the return of tough-talking, hard-playing Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. The detectives are enjoying Indian summer in their office in an old church belfry in Dorchester - the blue-collar, racially and ethnically diverse but troubled part of Boston where they grew up - when they are called to their next case. Dr. Diandra Warren, a prominent psychiatrist, believes she has inadvertently angered a powerful member of the Boston Irish Mafia and asks Patrick ...
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Darkness, Take My Hand (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series #2)

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Lehane's stunning thriller sees the return of tough-talking, hard-playing Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. The detectives are enjoying Indian summer in their office in an old church belfry in Dorchester - the blue-collar, racially and ethnically diverse but troubled part of Boston where they grew up - when they are called to their next case. Dr. Diandra Warren, a prominent psychiatrist, believes she has inadvertently angered a powerful member of the Boston Irish Mafia and asks Patrick and Angie to protect her vulnerable son from retribution. Can the detectives shield him from the thug who is not only right-hand man to the head of the Irish Mafia but who grew up with Patrick and Angie? Can Dr. Warren's ex-husband, the most powerful district attorney in the Boston area, help to protect his estranged son? As the detectives are drawn deeper into the case, bodies begin piling up around them. The clues begin to point unaccountably to an unlikely suspect - a serial killer who has been in prison for twenty years of a life sentence. Patrick and Angie must find out if he has indeed inexplicably resurfaced and what, if anything, his connection is to the people from their neighborhood.
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Editorial Reviews

Haunting . . . Heart-pounding suspenseful.
Cincinnati Enquirer
Masterfully plotted and beautifully written . . . A fierce and frightening story of crimes of the flesh and the heart.
Washington Post Book World
Taut writing . . . Lehane is one of those brave new detective stylists who is not afraid of fooling around with the genre's traditions.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two PIs investigate the crucifixion of a former neighbor in a "haunting" mystery that received a starred review from PW. (July)
Library Journal
Lingering pain is the central theme of Lehane's second novel (following A Drink Before the War, LJ 11/1/94) featuring Boston p.i. Patrick Kenzie. The Dorchester detective and partner Angie Gennaro investigate threats against a university psychiatrist that pit the pair against a dark and mysterious foe. Along the way, local history is unearthed that implicates Kenzie's abusive father in a decades-old crime. Violent and suspenseful action recommend this title.
Emily Melton
Lehane's latest is an explosive story that is at once gut-wrenchingly violent and achingly melancholy. Patrick Kenzie and Angie Dimassi have known each other since they were six-year-olds running wild on the playgrounds of South Boston. As grown-ups, they're partners in a detective agency, and the dangerous spots they've encountered together have strengthened the old bonds. Angie is coming out of an unhappy marriage, and Patrick is happily in love, when a series of brutal murders intrude. As Angie and Patrick try to find out what kind of human being could perform such horrifying acts of rape, mutilation, torture, and dismemberment, they soon find that the killer's motive is disturbingly rooted in their own distant past. The two work frantically with the Boston cops, the FBI, the local Mafia, and folks from the old neighborhood to unearth the killer. In a series of heart-stopping climaxes that grow ever more terrifying and bloody, Patrick and Angie lose nearly everything. Lehane's perfectly crafted plot leers, teases, taunts, and lulls, scattering bits of humor and heartbreak among the soul-chilling episodes of death and destruction. A tour de force from a truly gifted writer.
…one of the most terrifying tales to come along in a while.
Paper Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
Lehane follows up his Shamus-winning A Drink Before the War (1994) with a second case for the private-detective team of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Dimassi Gennaro. This time, Patrick and Angel are called on to defend a psychologist against some nasty members of the Boston Irish criminal community. Although the threat appears to be forestalled, a budding young actress from the old neighborhood is found murdered, and is later strangely implicated in the torture and death of the psychologist's son. Multiple crimes follow with the lethal signature of a long-jailed sociopath, a cop's son reared on those same mean streets. Panic sets in. The FBI commandeers the case. Angie finally divorces her abusive husband as Patrick struggles to protect his lover and her daughter from the murderer. But domestic difficulties pale as the increasingly terrifying wave of violence seems to point toward long-hidden secrets in Boston's Irish-American community, and motives (a long dance of betrayal and revenge among Irish cops and crooks) reach out from one generation to destroy the next.

Though there's an unseemly lack of subtlety to Lehane's sex scenes and violent set pieces, the passion of his neighborhood nightmare can hardly be denied. And he's created a villain who's both surprising and grimly fascinating: The kind of figure one hates but can't stop reading about.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380726288
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Series: Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series , #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane is the author of ten previous novels—including the New York Times bestsellers Live by Night; Moonlight Mile; Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; Shutter Island; and The Given Day—as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, currently live in California with their children.


Dennis Lehane knows Boston like the back of his hand. Born and raised in Beantown, he left to attend college and graduate school in Florida, but -- like a homing pigeon -- he returned soon thereafter. In order to support himself while he focused on his writing, he took a number of odd jobs that included counseling mentally handicapped and abused children, loading trucks, parking cars, working in bookstores, and waiting tables.

While he was still in college, he wrote the first draft of A Drink Before the War. Published in 1994, this Shamus Award winner introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, private investigators who live and work in Dorchester, the same blue-collar Boston neighborhood Lehane grew up in. Since their compelling debut, Kenzie and Gennaro have gone on to star in a gritty crime noir series acclaimed by readers and critics alike.

The idea for his breakout novel , 2001's stand-alone thriller Mystic River, came to Lehane while he was still writing the Kenzie-Genarro installment Prayers for Rain. The story of three childhood friends who share a dark past, Mystic River is a murder mystery with powerful psychological overtones. An immediate sensation, the book achieved blockbuster status when Clint Eastwood turned it into an award-winning film in 2003. Then, in his 2007 directorial debut, Ben Affleck adapted Lehane's favorite Kenzie-Gennaro novel, Gone, Baby, Gone, for the big screen.

Lehane's career shows no signs of slowing down, Since the success of his Boston-based mysteries, he has broadened his oeuvre to include television screenplays and short stories -- one of which, "Until Gwen," was adopted into a successful, limited-run play.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Lehane:

"My favorite job was parking cars."

"My favorite game is pool."

"I have an obsession with the color blue -- blue house, blue car, lots of blue shirts."

"I love good writing. Unequivocally. I think competition between writers is wonderful and healthy, but I never understood envy. When a peer writes a book that I know I couldn't have written, I feel the strangest elation because at this point I learn as much if not more from my peers as I do from the old masters."

"I unwind to Red Sox games and am a Patriots season ticket holder. The worst months of every year are February and March -- no baseball, no football, no point."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 4, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Dorchester, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Eckerd College, 1988; M.F.A., Florida International University, 1993
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Christmas Eve
6:15 p.m.

Three days ago, on the first official night of winter, a guy I grew up with, Eddie Brewer, was one of four people shot in a convenience store. Robbery was not a motive. The shooter, James Fahey, had recently broken up with his girlfriend, Laura Stiles, who was a cashier on the four-to-twelve shift. At eleven fifteen, as Eddie Brewer filled a styrofoam cup with ice and Sprite, James Fahey walked through the door and shot Laura Stiles once in the face and twice in the heart.

Then he shot Eddie Brewer once in the head and walked down the frozen food aisle and found an elderly Vietnamese couple huddling in the dairy section. Two bullets each for them, and James Fahey decided his work was complete.

He walked out to his car, sat behind the wheel, and taped the restraining order Laura Stiles and her family had successfully filed against him to the rearview mirror. Then he tied one of Laura's bras around his head, took a pull from a bottle of Jack Daniel's, and fired a bullet into his mouth.

James Fahey and Laura Stiles were pronounced dead at the scene. The elderly Vietnamese man died en route to Carney Hospital, his wife a few hours later. Eddie Brewer, however, lies in a coma, and while doctors say his prognosis isn't good, they also admit his continued existence is all but miraculous.

The press have been giving that description a lot of play lately, because Eddie Brewer, never anything close to a saint when we were growing up, is a priest. He'd been out jogging the night he was shot, dressed in thermals and sweats, so Fahey didn't know his vocation, though I doubt it would have mattered much. Butthe press, sensing both a nostalgia for religion so close to the holidays, and a fresh spin on an old story, played his priesthood for all it was worth.

TV commentators and print editorialists have likened Eddie Brewer's random shooting to a sign of the apocalypse. and around-the-clock vigils have been held at his parish in Lower Mills and outside the Carney. Eddie Brewer, an obscure cleric and a completely unassuming man, is heading for martyrdom, whether he lives or not.

None of this has anything to do with the nightmare that descended on my life and that of several others in this city two months ago, a nightmare that left me with wounds the doctors say have healed as well as can be expected, even though my right hand has yet to regain most of its feeling, and the scars on my face sometimes burn under the beard I've grown. No, a priest getting shot and the serial killer who entered my life and the latest "ethnic cleansing" being wrought in a former Soviet republic or the man who shot up an abortion clinic not far from here or another serial killer who's killed ten in Utah and has yet to be caught-none of it is connected.

But sometimes it feels like it is, as if somewhere there's a thread to all these events, all these random, arbitrary violence's, and that if we can just figure out where that thread begins, we can pull on it, unravel everything, make sense of it.

Since Thanksgiving, I've grown the beard, the first one of my life, and while I keep it trimmed, it continues to surprise me in the mirror every morning, as if I spend my nights dreaming of a face that is smooth and unruptured by scars, flesh that is clean the way only a baby's is, skin untouched by anything but sweet air and a mother's tender caresses.

The office-Kenzie/Gennaro Investigations-is closed, gathering dust I assume, maybe the first stray cobweb in a corner behind my desk, maybe one behind Angie's too. Angie's been gone since the end of November, and I try not to think about her. Or Grace Cole. Or Grace's daughter, Mae. Or anything at all.

Mass has just ended across the street, and with the unseasonably warm weather-still in the low forties, though the sun's been down for ninety minutes-most of the parishioners mill about outside, and their voices are sharp in the night air as they wish each other good cheer and happy holidays. They remark on the strangeness of the weather, how erratic it's been all year, how summer was cold and autumn warm and then just as suddenly bitter and icy, how no one should be surprised if Christmas morning were to bring a Santa Ana and a mercury reading in the seventies.

Someone mentions Eddie Brewer, and they speak about it for a moment, but a brief one, and I sense they don't want it to spoil their festive mood. But, oh, they say, what a sick, crazy world. Crazy is the word, they say, crazy, crazy, crazy.

I spend most of my time sitting out here lately. From the porch, I can see people, and even though it's often cool out here, their voices keep me here as my bad hand stiffens with cold and my teeth begin to chatter.

In the mornings, I carry my coffee out, sit in the brisk air and look across the avenue to the schoolyard and watch the small boys in their blue ties and matching blue pants and the small girls with their plaid skirts and glinting barrettes run around the yard. Their sudden shrieks and darting movements, their seemingly bottomless supply of frenetic energy, can be wearying or invigorating depending on my mood. When it's a bad day, those shrieks tide my spinal column like chips of broken glass. On good days, though, I get a flush of something that may be a memory of what it was like to feel whole, when the simple act of breathing didn't ache.

The issue, he wrote, is pain. How much I feel, how much I parcel out.

He came during the warmest, most erratic autumn on record, when the weather seemed to have flipped completely off its usual course, when everything seemed upside down, as if you'd look at a hole in the ground and see stars and constellations floating at the bottom, turn your head to the sky and see dirt and trees hanging suspended. As if he had his fingers on the globe, and he slapped it, and the world-or at least my portion of it-spun.

Sometimes Bubba or Richie or Devin and Oscar drop by, sit out here with me and we talk about the NFL playoffs or the college bowls or the latest movies in town. We didn't talk about this past autumn or Grace and Mae. We don't talk about Angie. And we never talk about him. He's done his damage, and there's nothing left to say.

The issue, he wrote, is pain.

Those words-written on a piece of white, 8X11 copy paper-haunt me. Those words, so simple, sometimes seem as if they were written in stone.

Copyright ) 1997 by Dennis Lehane

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 149 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 151 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Haunting tale you can't put down

    This is by far my favorite book ever. I have read all of Lehane's work and he is my favorite author. This story was the most addicting of all of his books for me, which is saying alot. The man is a master of the detective fiction novel and his PI's Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are so realistic and well written that it is easy to think of them as real people.

    This story is incredible because of the dark and violent tone of brutality and loss. Lehane makes this novel so fast paced and addicting that I have read it atleast 5 times since buying it and will definitely read it more.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    I don't unnderstand how someone gave this only two stars?

    One of the best books I have read in a long time. I love this author. Have since I read Gone Baby, Gone. Look for all of our books. Linda Lange

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014


    Dennis does it again. I couldn't put it down. I wish there was more about Bubba, though.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2012

    Great murder mystery - this one is a must read!

    If you read a ton of books like I do, you will really like this author's style and talent at telling a story. The characters are totally believable. The story is woven with many twists and turns and will have you guessing until the very end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2014

    Michelle to all rpers

    This is the Hufflepuff boys dorm. Slytherin common room next res.

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  • Posted July 5, 2014

    Love this series. Hope Dennis writes more.

    Read the #5 of this series first, and went back and bought all the other 5 in the series. Kept me entertained for a month! Loved this series, and the other Dennis Lehane books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013


    I will read anything that Dennis Lehane publishes. He has an awesome feel for dialogue and can tell an amazing fleshed out story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    BN? Should be possible to give a Half Star!

    I am a fan of the mystery/detective/drama genre. Nothing I enjoy more than a good, tightly woven story. But my OWN particular personality defects prevent me from becoming totally involved, (or engrossed/committed -take your pick), in the tale if the author himself fails to present HIS plot in an unimpeachable, water-tight fashion that I, as the reader, am prevented from asking myself - "Well, wait a minute.... Why would they actually DO (or NOT do) this......"

    It HAS to make sense! It HAS to pass the smell-test for me, or I am then, @ that point, just skimming it to finish it and be done with it. And that is pretty much how THIS plot is constructed, in my view......

    One example of many: So they've got a plan and are intent on catchin the BoogeyMan; on the night they're lying in wait and gonna catch him and save the city, they lose focus by having sex and lighting candles all over the stake-out location and, uh,... he kinda gets away! Damnit Jim!

    Trying not to give anything away here, but.... Yeah, put me down as dissapointed. And I wish I could have read a review indicating as much so I could have saved my self some time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Thrilling ! One of my favorite authors.

    Thrilling ! One of my favorite authors.

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  • Posted May 29, 2012

    worth the purchase

    Good series, interesting characters etc.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Very Good!!

    Really liked this one. Full of suspense. Will be adding this series to my must read list. Like I need another one. LOL.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2012

    Very good book

    Total suspense

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011



    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Love this book!

    This is a fast-paced mystery. Hard to put down until you know the answer!

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Highly recommended

    #2 in the Kenzie, Gennaro series by Dennis Lehane. If you have read one then you know you can't get enough off them! This is my thrid time reading them :)

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Would someone explain why this hasn't been made into a movie?

    I'm exhausted! This story is so tight and driven that it's almost impossible to put it down! Kenzie and Gennaro have that edge that can only be developed when good people grow up on the rough side of town...they know where the line between good and evil is, but can't keep from walking along it...sometimes even poking a toe across! Their humanity is tangible! This time, they even fear that the Darkness is about to consume them and in some respects, it does. When confronted with a greater evil, however, they realize that all of us have capabilities that we'd rather not acknowledge! The antagonists in Darkness are pure EVIL and the story takes a turn down the psychological road to tkake a look at the question of whether evil is born or created...or both. I can't recommend this book enough, but be warned...there'll be a few sleepless nights ahead of you!

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Harrowing and Gripping

    This is edge-of-your-seat stuff, folks; Darkness, Take My Hand left me feeling as drained and weary as the main characters must have felt at the end of their ordeal. There is no slow part to this book. It's all action, and just when you think that Patrick or Angie is safe, just when you think that they've maybe bought themselves a moment's respite, BAM! Everything's gone further to hell. Lehane's writing style is crisp, snappy, and well-paced, which serves to make an already good plot even richer and more exciting to the reader. I think that one of the reasons I truly appreciate Lehane's style of prose is because he writes how someone (such as myself) might think: not too profound, not too simple. This is especially useful as the main POV is in first person present, and so it provides a very realistic narrative that draws the reader in and keeps them focused on the task at hand. Lehane isn't heavy-handed with his descriptions, either, and yet manages to come up with on-the-nose and almost poetic ways to portray scenes without coming across as verbose or pretentious. The main characters aren't the bad guys, of course. But they tread that very fine line in their quest to find the true villains. Once or twice they teeter dangerously close to the edge, close enough to peek over and see the darkness that lies on the other side of that line, and maybe even allow it to seep into their hearts for a time. Lehane expertly crafts two protagonists both complex and imperfect, so grittily real that the book feels less like a work of fiction and more of a docudrama, drawing parallels to such television series as The Wire, and equally as harrowing in its scope. If the protagonists are compelling, then the antagonists are absolutely bone-chilling. Cold-blooded, no conscience, born to reave and rape, to raze the Boston suburbs to the ground in the bloodiest way possible. I've never been a fan of violence in books, probably because I see enough of it on the news every day, but I understand that in this case, the violence Lehane describes his villains commit is an important contrast against the doings of his protagonists. And what turns this book into a pseudo-horror book, at least for me, is how very human all these killings and acts of violence are. It makes you take a good, hard look at society today and at all the sickos that are out there, preying on the innocent every minute of every day. It's disturbing, and to capture that so well in text signifies excellent writing. Exciting from the first, Darkness, Take My Hand keeps you on the edge of your seat, guessing until the close of the book. You're taken on the same nerve-racking journey as the main characters, and by the conclusion there's no doubt that Lehane is one of the definitive writers of the neo-noir genre.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    Amazing story!!!

    Lehane just gets better and better! Found this author at Mystic River and decided to give this series a try. After really liking the first book i'm pleasantly shocked how much more i liked this book. The story was so gripping that I was exhausted by the end.

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  • Posted April 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Dark, intense and beautifully written

    My husband's just read number four in Dennis LeHane's Kenzie and Gennaro series; he insisted it was time I caught up with him. I'd only read the first book so far-A Drink before Dying-so I picked up Darkness take my hand, number two, and admired the author's choice of titles before starting to read. After starting to read I admired his wordcraft too; evocative descriptions of streets and scenes; convincing depictions of deep characters-no cardboard cutouts here; cleverly revealed backstories with picture-perfect timing; internal dialog that pulls the reader in to search each scene for answers as desperately as the character himself; and convincing conversations you can almost hear.

    Is Boston really such a dangerous place? I don't know; I've never been there. But the streets Dennis LeHane creates seem as real as any I've know; the characters walk off the page to gaze from streetcorners; and the whole tale haunts me. Darkness take my hand is a very dark tale, definitely not for the squeamish, but it's wonderfully told and wholly un-put-down-able. A twisted mystery, a psychological thriller, a gritty tale of real people and real streets. In the end, it's simply a really good read, and I'm looking forward to starting number three as soon as my read-and-review pile shrinks a little lower.

    Disclosure: I read this because my husband told me to. My husband has good taste in books.

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  • Posted April 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    I absolutely love this series so far! This is the second installment and it was absolutely thrilling and at times terrifying. Beware: this novel is not for the timid. The serial killer does the most inhumane and terrible things that I found myself getting scared as I was reading it in the middle of the night. But Lehane is a great writer that keeps you guessing and glued to the page. Enjoy...

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