Prayers for Rain (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series #5)

Prayers for Rain (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series #5)

4.2 128
by Dennis Lehane

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When a former client jumps naked from a Boston landmark, Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie wants to know why. Once a perky young woman in love with life, her suicide is the final fall in a spiral of self-destruction.

What Kenzie discovers is a sadistic stalker who targeted the woman and methodically drove her to her death – a monster that the law can&

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When a former client jumps naked from a Boston landmark, Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie wants to know why. Once a perky young woman in love with life, her suicide is the final fall in a spiral of self-destruction.

What Kenzie discovers is a sadistic stalker who targeted the woman and methodically drove her to her death – a monster that the law can’t touch. But Kenzie can. He and his former partner, Angela Gennaro, will fight a mind-twisting battle against the psychopath, even as he turns tricks on them…

Prayers for Rain is another superior thriller from Dennis Lehane, the bestselling and acclaimed author of Mystic River, Shutter Island, and Gone, Baby, Gone.

Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune
To the list that includes such names as Robert B. Parker and Linda Barnes, add that of Dennis Lehane.
Stephen King
In the miserably hot summer of 1999...the superb detective novels of Dennis Lehane—became a kind of lifeline for me.
The New York Times Book Review
Wall Street Journal
When it comes to describing action, Lehane delivers big-time.
James Sheehan
Sometimes, you can spot them right away. In 1995, Dennis Lehane published his remarkably assured debut novel, A Drink Before the War , and it was immediately obvious that someone special had just entered the ranks of American suspense writers. A Drink Before the War demonstrated an instinctive mastery of the idiom and conventions of the traditional private-eye novel, then added some very personal elements to the mix: a sense of moral outrage; a feeling for the nuances of complex relationships; the ability to capture, with documentary precision, the blighted nature of our modern urban landscapes; and an unsparing vision of a violent and corrupt society in terminal decline.

Lehane's fifth novel, Prayers for Rain , is now available, and it operates at the same level of intensity that characterized the other four, each of which featured the same pair of Boston-based private investigators, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. Prayers for Rain P takes place several months after the bleak conclusion of Gone, Baby, Gone , which saw Kenzie and Gennaro come to a bitter parting of the ways as a result of unresolved differences over the outcome of their latest case. As the new book opens, Gennaro has joined a large, impersonal Boston security firm, while Kenzie is working alone and growing increasingly weary of the sordid, dehumanizing nature of his profession.

When Kenzie is hired by the impossibly All-American Karen Nichols — who strikes him as "the kind of woman who irons her socks" — to confront and discourage the stalker who has recently entered her life, trouble begins. Kenzie, with the aid of the massive and intimidating Bubba Rogowski, successfully eliminates the stalker and then puts the matter out of his mind. Several weeks later, a distraught Karen Nichols leaves a barely coherent message on his answering machine, begging Kenzie to call her. For a number of unsatisfactory reasons, he never does. Four months later, Karen is dead, having jumped from the 26th-floor observation deck of the Boston Custom House. The rest of the novel centers around the guilt-ridden Kenzie's efforts to understand what happened to Karen and to offer whatever posthumous restitution he can.

Kenzie's investigation reveals that the last few months of Karen's life had been marked by a Job-like series of catastrophes. First, her fiancé was left permanently comatose by what appeared to be a freak automobile accident. In the aftermath of that accident, everything fell apart. Karen lost her job, her car, her apartment, and her savings, ending her days in a miasma of drugs, despair, and meaningless sex. As Kenzie assembles this unsettling portrait of a woman driven to the edge, he begins to discern the outline of another figure, someone who, for reasons of his own, deliberately set in motion the series of events that robbed Karen Nichols of her will to live.

The bulk of Prayers for Rain concerns Kenzie's (and, eventually, Angela Gennaro's) attempts to identify the predator, understand his motives, and bring him to some sort of justice. The result is a stylish, frightening, furiously paced novel of suspense and psychological warfare that moves through escalating levels of violence toward a bruising confrontation in an underground bunker near Plymouth Rock, a confrontation from which no one emerges unaltered or unscarred.

Beneath its lurid, take-it-to-the-limit surface, Prayers for Rain is powered by Lehane's sympathy for the violated and abused, and by his understanding of the fragile nature of the things that anchor us to a sane and reasonable life. With five novels under his belt, Lehane, who is still in his early 30s, has established a legitimate claim as the best new writer to enter the field in the last ten years, and his future, at this point, seems virtually unlimited. If you haven't tried his work yet, I urge you to do so. He's very, very good, and he's going to be very, very popular. Sometimes, you can spot that right away.

Steve Nemmers
Violence is frequent and relatively graphic; the overall tone is somewhere between somber and depressing, and the morality expressed strains contemporary religious and societal norms. Despite the darkness of this novel, its style and story grab the reader and refuse to let go....This novel is a detective story; it is also a well-written, serious work. If you haven't sampled Dennis Lehane's work, this is an excellent place to begin. —The Mystery Reader Online
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After the shattering consequences of their last case (Gone, Baby, Gone), Lehane's PI partners Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are back, but not together. Estranged from Angie personally and professionally, Patrick works the old Boston neighborhood — with the occasional help of his loyal and happily homicidal pal Bubba Rogowski — while Angie has moved uptown to a blue-chip corporate security firm. Enter Karen Nichols, a nice, hard-working sort who's being stalked. Patrick and Bubba are glad to take care of the stalker — in an extremely satisfying way — and everybody expects a happy ending. Which no one gets, because six months later the woman dives to her death off the Custom House tower. It turns out that everything that could go wrong with her life did — all at the same time. Everyone, including the police — and Karen's strangely unsympathetic family — chalks it up to a streak of extraordinarily bad luck, but Patrick is suspicious. He doesn't believe in coincidences and needs Angie's help to uncover a killer whose methods seem to put him beyond the law — one who makes his victims do the work, by manipulating their minds and lives until suicide seems a plausible alternative. Lehane's sense of place is acute, and his ear is finely attuned to the voices of Boston's many neighborhoods, as Patrick and Angie trace Karen's downward spiral, from the exclusive, cobbled streets of Beacon Hill to the wharves and bars of the North End. As the plot twists through layers of old deceit and current corruption, the victims multiply while the killer remains elusive, protected by the terror he inspires. With sharp dialogue, inventively gruesome violence and the darkest of dark humor, Lehane's fifth novel proves again that he's the hippest heir of Hammett and Chandler.
Darina Molloy
The thriller novels of Boston author Dennis Lehane just get better and better and in Prayers for Rain, his latest in the Patrick Kenzie series, Lehane has fashioned another gripping tale of murderous mayhem.
Irish America Magazine
People Magazine
Answered prayer for a summer mystery reader.
Boston Sunday Globe
Lehane moves decisively to the front of the pack.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
A haunting premise, true-to-life characters, and a twisty plot make for a memorable thriller.
Kirkus Reviews
Karen Nichols's slow slide to self-destruction begins a few weeks after shamus Patrick Kenzie and his fearsome sidekick Bubba Rogowski gently discourage predatory restauranteur Cody Falk from hitting on her anymore. Her fiancé gets struck by a car; she loses her job and her apartment, replacing them with drinking and drugs; and she ends her final incarnation as a prostitute by taking a header off the observation deck of Boston's Custom House. Fans of quixotic Patrick's first four cases (Gone, Baby, Gone, 1998, etc.) will recognize Karen's death as the signal for him to do some serious hunkering down. But every time he and Bubba, joined eventually by his estranged lover and ex-partner Angela Gennaro, get a promising lead about the plot that drove Karen to suicide, they hear the sound of doors slamming. Either Karen's friends and family don't know anything about the shadow that fell across her life or they're afraid to talk about it, and the sequel shows that their fears aren't in vain. But by the time the avengers lay down their arms, Karen's life from childhood on will be an open book; the scoundrels who plotted against her (and there turn out to be plenty of them, coming at Patrick in dazzling waves) will be dead or defanged; and Lehane, who writes like an angel on crystal meth, will have tapped into your most primitive fantasies of vigilante justice. It's all a fairy tale, as Patrick finally realizes. But as fairy tales go, what a scorcher! (First printing 60,000; Literary Guild main selection)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Series , #5
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Prayers for Rain
Chapter One

The first time I met Karen Nichols, she struck me as the kind of woman who ironed her socks.

She was blond and petite and stepped out of a kelly-green 1998 VW Bug as Bubba and I crossed the avenue toward St. Bartholomew's Church with our morning coffee in hand. It was February, but winter had forgotten to show up that year. Except for one snowstorm and a few days in the subzeros, it had been damn near balmy. Today it was in the high forties, and it was only ten in the morning. Say all you want about global warming, but as long as it saves me from shoveling the walk, I'm for it.

Karen Nichols placed a hand over her eyebrows, even though the morning sun wasn't all that strong, and smiled uncertainly at me.

"Mr. Kenzie?"

I gave her my eats-his-veggies-loves-his-mom smile and proffered my hand. "Miss Nichols?"

She laughed for some reason. "Karen, yes. I'm early.

Her hand slid into mine and felt so smooth and uncallused. it could have been gloved. "Call me Patrick.That's Mr. Rogowski."

Bubba grunted and slugged his coffee.

Karen Nichols's hand dropped from mine and she jerked back slightly, as if afraid she'd have to extend her hand to Bubba. Afraid if she did, she might not get it back.

She wore a brown suede jacket that fell to midthigh over a charcoal cable-knit crewneck, crisp blue jeans, and bright white Reeboks. None of her apparel looked as if a wrinkle, stain, or wisp of dust had been within a country mile of it.

She placed delicate fingers on her smooth neck. "A couple of real PIs. Wow." Her soft blue eyes crinkled with her button nose and she laughed again.

"I'm the PI," I said. "He's just slumming."

Bubba grunted again and kicked me in the ass.

"Down, boy," I said. "Heel."

Bubba sipped some coffee.

Karen Nichols looked as if she'd made a mistake coming here. I decided then not to lead her up to my belfry office. If people were uncertain about hiring me, taking them to the belfry usually wasn't good PR.

School was out because it was Saturday, and the air was moist and without a chill, so Karen Nichols, Bubba, and I walked to a bench in the schoolyard. I sat down. Karen Nichols used an immaculate white handkerchief to dust the surface, then she sat down. Bubba frowned at the lack of space on the bench, frowned at me, then sat on the ground in front of us, crossed his legs, peered up expectantly.

"Good doggie," I said.

Bubba gave me a look that said I'd pay for that as soon as we were away from polite company.

"Miss Nichols," I said, "how did you hear about me?"

She tore her gaze away from Bubba and looked into my eyes for a moment in utter confusion. Her blond hair was cut as short as a small boy's and reminded me of pictures I've seen of women in Berlin in the 1920s. It was sculpted tight against the skull with gel, and even though it wouldn't be moving on its own unless she stepped into the wake of a jet engine, she'd clipped it over her left ear, just below the part, with a small black barrette that had a june bug painted on it.

Her wide blue eyes cleared and she made that short,nervous laugh again. "My boyfriend."

"And his name is . . . " I said, guessing Tad or Ty or Hunter.

"David Wetterau."

So much for my psychic abilities.

"I'm afraid I've never heard of him."

"He met someone who used to work with you. A woman?"

Bubba raised his head, glared at me. Bubba blamed me for Angie ending our partnership, for Angie moving out of the neighborhood, buying a Honda, dressing in Anne Klein suits, and generally not hanging out with us anymore.

"Angela Gennaro?" I asked Karen Nichols.

She smiled. "Yes. That's her name."

Bubba grunted again. Pretty soon he'd start howling at the moon.

"And why do you need a private detective, Miss Nichols?"

"Karen." She turned on the bench toward me, tucked an imaginary strand of hair behind her ear.

"Karen. Why do you need a detective?"

A sad, crumpled smile bent her pursed lips and she looked down at her knees for a moment. "There's a guy at the gym I go to?"

I nodded.

She swallowed. I guess she'd been hoping I'd figure it all out from that one sentence. I was certain she was about to tell me something unpleasant and even more certain that she had, at best, only a very passing acquaintance with things unpleasant.

"He's been hitting on me, following me to the parking lot. At first it was just, you know, annoying?" She raised her head, searched my eyes for understanding. "Then it got uglier. He began calling me at home. I went out of my way to avoid him at the gym, but a couple of times I saw him parked out in front of the house . . .

Prayers for Rain
. Copyright © by Dennis Lehane. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

Michael Connelly
You read Lehane's stuff and you think he's got the great ones — Chandler, MacDonald, Parker — watching over him as he writes every page.

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