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.
About the Author
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 lives in California with his family.
Date of Birth:August 4, 1965
Place of Birth:Dorchester, Massachusetts
Education:B.A., Eckerd College, 1988; M.F.A., Florida International University, 1993
Read an Excerpt
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.
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," Isaid. "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.
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?"
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...
Table of Contents
What People are Saying About This
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.
On Monday, June 28th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Dennis Lehane to discuss PRAYERS FOR RAIN.
Moderator: Welcome, Dennis Lehane! Thank you for taking the time to join us online this evening to chat about your new book, PRAYERS FOR RAIN. How are you doing tonight?
Dennis Lehane: I am doing great. Thanks for having me.
firstname.lastname@example.org from xx: Is there anything special about your own background that led you to write mystery novels?
Dennis Lehane: I read a lot of them. That is really it.
Thumper from Indianapolis, IN: Hello. I think that your books are da bomb! I was more than a little ticked last year when Patrick and Angie broke up, so as you can well imagine I've been a happy little camper since reading PRAYERS FOR RAIN. Are you surprised how strongly some readers react concerning Patrick and Angie?
Dennis Lehane: I am very touched. If I put myself in the shoes of a reader, as I am also, then I guess I am not surprised, because as a reader I tend to have very visceral reactions to my favorite characters. But coming from the writing standpoint, yes, I am very touched.
Gerald from New York City: Some writers eagerly sell their books for film/TV projects, while others hesitate. As a writer and filmmaker yourself, what are your feelings on a Kenzie/Gennaro movie? Have you thought of filming such a project yourself? Thank you.
Dennis Lehane: I have never entertained the idea of filming them myself. I think there are limits as to where you can trust a writer on his own work, and I would not trust myself. I tend to be very hesitant about selling them. I think it would be a disservice to the reader if they picked a hack director and badly cast and wrote it. I will sell my soul for a price, but it must be a high price.
Cary from Carybari@aol.com: Did the experience writing and directing the film "Neighborhoods" affect the way you tell your stories? Are films a source of inspiration for you as a writer? Are there things that are easier to accomplish in a film than on the page?
Dennis Lehane: The thing that making a film taught me was that I like directing, but I love writing. I think there are things in film that can be done easier then can be done in novels. But I do believe that a great novel sticks with you in a way that a great film can't. It is a more personal experience.
Michele from Chelsea: Hi, Dennis. Love your new book, and Bubba was great in this one. Can't wait for the next one.
Dennis Lehane: Thank you very much.
Joe from Charlestown, MA: What did you do for work before writing A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR?
Dennis Lehane: Before writing it, I was in human services. I worked with physically and sexually abused children. I wrote that book, then went to grad school, and it was accepted just as I was finishing up grad school. And I really wanted to get back to Boston, so I took a job parking cars, and then I was a chauffeur, and that was my last job before I realized I could write full time. My whole thing was I did not want a job that smelled remotely of career, because I considered writing my career. P.S. I was at one point living in Charlestown -- the first place I lived when I moved back.
Dave from Boston, MA: What to Dennis Lehane is the most important element of effectively writing in your genre?
Dennis Lehane: Character.
Page from Florida: I just discovered your books. I started with GONE, BABY, GONE and fell in love with your writing style. I couldn't put it down. Whom do you base Angie and Bubba on? I look forward to many more Patrick stories.... Thanks for many hours of great reading.
Dennis Lehane: Nobody is based on anyone. Angie, if you will, is sort of an amalgam of a lot of women I knew growing up. Then I put her in the "dream babe" persona, if you will. I picked my sort of fantasy woman. I was just actually in San Francisco with Harlan Coben, and we talked about how hard it is to just explain that a large part of it is just imagination. That is what we are paid to do -- just make things up.
Fan from Boston, MA: Do you still teach writing? Also, do you have your books as required reading on your syllabus?
Dennis Lehane: I am teaching right now a course in crime fiction. And I would never put my own books on my syllabus, because: 1)It is the height of hubris and ego run amok; and 2)If a student wrote a paper on what I wrote and his interpretation was wrong, well I would know it. So that wouldn't be fair.
Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: I have read that you completed PRAYERS FOR RAIN while staying in a hotel in New York. Did you find it more difficult to write about Boston while living in New York?
Dennis Lehane: Well, I wasn't living in New York -- I holed up in a hotel for two different periods for about two to three weeks each year. And no, I find it easier to write about places when I am away from them. I write about seasons when I am in the exact opposite season. It forces you to imagine and evoke things, and I think your senses are more highly tuned by memory.
Mike from Sudbury, MA: In reading articles and interviews with you about your work, names like Graham Greene, Richard Yates, Walker Percy, and Jim Thompson come up again and again. Which writers (crime writers or otherwise) have had the greatest impact on your own work?
Dennis Lehane: Graham Greene, Richard Price, Raymond Carver, Elmore Leonard's Detroit novels, Robert Parker, James Lee Burke, and Pete Dexter.
Jim from Oakland, CA: I think you truly have an eye for the real. Especially the realistic and brutal violent scenes you write about in your book. How do you prepare to write violence? Just asking, nothing else to it, I swear.
Dennis Lehane: While writing violent scenes, I tend to play really violent music -- you know, real "head-banger" shit. I do a lot with music when I write, so what is considered my most violent scene or my toughest scene is in GONE, BABY, GONE, and I think I was listening to Guns & Roses' first album with headphones blasting the music.
Theresse from Wyoming: I really enjoyed A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR. But I haven't read any of your books since then. Do you recommend I read them in order? Or does it not really matter?
Dennis Lehane: Yes, read them in order. Particularly the first two should be read in order. I almost see those as one book.
Sharon from St. Louis, MO: I love your books. When you have time to read, who are some of your favorite authors?
Dennis Lehane: George Pelecanos, Michael Connelly, Minette Walters, Patrick McGrath, and right now I am reading GOD IS A BULLET by Boston Teran.
Moderator: If the Y2K bug wreaks its havoc, what books will you take to read by the light of your solar-powered generator?
Dennis Lehane: I would take ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, THE MOVIEGOER, and THE WANDERERS.
Vicki Glassroth from Montgomery, AL: Dennis: We are looking forward to seeing you on 7/19 at Capitol Book & News in Montgomery. I have read all of your books. I was terrified by DARKNESS and TAKE MY HAND, and I think my old favorite is still SACRED. My question is: I have all of your books except your first in hardback first editions. Could you check around your house and see if you have an extra first edition hardback of A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR? If so, bring it to Montgomery with you. Looking forward to seeing you. Bring your warm-weather clothing. Also, ask your friend Michael Connelly why he hasn't written a new book this year? See you on 7/19.
Dennis Lehane: Michael Connelly did write a new book, ANGELS FLIGHT. As far as a first edition of A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR, look for it on the Net.
Jwc901@aol.com from New Jersey: You have referred to PRAYERS FOR RAIN as your "architecture" book. Is architecture a personal hobby of yours? To what degree do you consciously use your own hobbies, interests, or obsessions in your books?
Dennis Lehane: "Architecture" was a misquote. I was referring to SACRED. Someone who reads it will see a lot of stuff about Boston architecture. I love old buildings, but I love them sort of the way you love art, you know you like it when you see it. I have no classical knowledge of it. I don't know if many of my passions personally come into the books, except I like pubs, I like shooting pool, I like old movies, and those are what I share with Patrick.
Mullin from Haverford, PA: How do you react when you are called the hottest young writer in mystery today? Does this type of pressure present unrealistic expectations, or do you embrace those types of words?
Dennis Lehane: No, I don't believe them. I think everybody is looking for a label, and I understand that, and if it affects my sales in a positive way, I am all for it. But I know a lot of damn hot young mystery writers, so if I am one, I think I am part of a group that includes Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben, and Boston Teran -- if he writes another one, watch out.
Britt from Rochester: How close are you to Angela and Patrick? Do you think about them when you are not writing about them? Do they ever surprise you when you are writing about them?
Dennis Lehane: They surprise me a lot when I am writing about them, and I think about them a lot when I am writing about them. They become more real to me than real people. Then I never think of them again, until I am about to write another one.
Brent from Marlboro, MA: How similar are you to Kenzie? Also, did you base Bubba on any people in your life?
Dennis Lehane: He is much braver then I am, he has a much quicker temper then I do, and he has fired a gun. And we have the same taste in old movies -- we love the Marx brothers. He is far more car-obsessed then I am, but I am a better dresser, and I have read a lot more.
Elise from Brooklyn, NY: I am really impressed and captivated by the relationship established between Patrick and Angela. What did you use as an original base for their relationship? Also, do you ever plan for either of them ever to branch off into their own series? And finally, will you ever write a non-Gennaro/Kenzie book? Any plans in the works?
Dennis Lehane: I will write a non-Gennaro/Kenzie book, but beyond that I can't say anything. Again, I didn't base them on anyone, they're just products of my imagination. I think that is a mistake that a lot of first-time writers make -- to base characters on real people. Because imagination is like a muscle; you have to flex it or it atrophies, and if you rely on reality, the work suffers.
Pat from Washington State: I have read all of your books. Will there me more books with Patrick and Angie?
Dennis Lehane: Yes, there will be more.
Pearl from New Orleans, LA: Can you tell us a little bit about your next book?
Dennis Lehane: I am very superstitious about talking about my work until I am at least halfway through a draft, which is not where I am now....
Michelle from Des Moines, IA: How did you get your first book published?
Dennis Lehane: I wrote it, I threw it in a box with a bunch of other stuff I wrote that year. A former professor came by the place I was living and he picked it up, read it, and said, "If you rewrite this it will be good enough to send to an agent." So I did, and he sent it to a former student of his that was then an agent, and then I went off to grad school, and she sent it our a few times. The eighth publisher it was sent to took it. And that was that.
Hank from Atlanta, GA: When you write, what do you start with? A situation? The ending to the mystery? Do you know where you are going when you are writing, or does it come to you as you are writing?
Dennis Lehane: If you look at plot and plot points, like letters of the alphabet, I usually know A, then M, then usually Z. I have a very bare structure within the work. I know who did it, and I probably know why. And then I just sort of fill in the blanks, the other 23 letters.
Moderator: It's been time well spent chatting with you this evening, Dennis Lehane. We can't wait for you to come back. Do you have any final comments for the online audience?
Dennis Lehane: No, except thank you all for the great questions and generous comments.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This novel was fast paced action from page one. The thesis of the book is unique and the author executes his theme to perfection. I loved the dialog and with the humor proved an interesting turn in this type of novel . The plot twists are realistic and not contrived. Read this one you won't go wrong.
After deciding that 'Mystic River' was just okay and then moving on to 'Shutter Island' which I proclaimed the best book of this past year and a masterpiece, I didn't think I'd like 'Prayer's For Rain' as much...but I did! This book is yet another masterpiece in that of itself but in a different kind of way than 'Shudder'. The character's bounce off the page and slap you in your face and seem so real that it's hard to put down. They drive this story and they in return sell the storyline. And the storyline is magnificent and enjoyable from start to finish. I found no flaws in this novel at all, except at the end when I didn't want it to be over. Lehane is brilliant and this book is the epitome of excellence. Read this book, love it, cherish it, talk about it. 'Prayer's For Rain' is in a class of it's own.
I won't really spoil much of this plot, which was excellent. This book was great. Lehane is on the best crime novelists, his writing style is great, he writes good dialogue, and I feel like I know the characters. Read this if you like crime novels.
Dennis Lehane is one of my top three favorite authors. He cannot produce books fast enough for my reading pleasure. Once again, he has created characters that grab hold of your emotions and twist them around, not quite knowing if you are feeling compassion for the good guys or bad. I was unable to put the book down and read for many hours at a time...not boring and the use of first-person writing provides so much more details and feelings of the characters true emotions. This book is highly recommended.
An enemy equipped with vast power and bottomless resources confronts Kenzie, his old partner Angie and their lovable but monstrous Bubba in this quick paced novel. Driven by guilt because he had not returned a client¿s call for help , Kenzie set about making things right by investigating the causes that led to Karen Nichol¿s suicide. An array of events were discovered, events that could not have been pulled off by nature but was intrinsically planned to drive her to her death. Eventually she lost her will to live and suicide seemed her best resort. Our three stooges then find themselves in a mêlée for their sanity and their lives as they discover layer after layer of treachery and ruse masking the killer and his plots, a killer who prefers to drive his victims to their deaths than the actus reus of physical murder. With swift velocity, charitable portions of suspense and intrigue, and a plot with more twists than a bag of pretzels,(can get rather confusing at certain points_ Lehane provides all the element of a catchy thriller. However, I found the dialogues between the protagonists too `¿concocted¿¿ and `trying too hard to be witty¿. Not natural. But the touch of romance for toughie Bubba added a nice spice. And the ending held a little twist that keeps you wondering. A worthwhile read, if you may.
Love this book. This is exactly the psycho- thriller I was looking for. Intelligently written and woven together with all the creativity of an edge-of-your-seat mental puzzle!
My first experience with a Dennis Lehane novel was with Shutter Island. That book ruined my for other books. I just couldn't find anything to match up to it for a while. When I found this series I was happy as a clam. I picked up the series in the middle and will be going back to start from the beginning. Great pacing, great characters, great action...great book!
Awesome!! I read Gone Baby Gone first, and thought that was good. Prayers is soooo much better, almost as good as Shutter Island. Love Patrick Kenzie. Knowing that Casey Affleck will play him the movie 'Gone Baby Gone' makes it even better!
This is the second in Lehane¿s Patrick Kenzie-Angela Gennaro series that I have read (after Gone, Baby, Gone), and I don¿t think I cared for it much. I didn¿t really like any of the characters, and the plot left me cold. I much prefer Lehane¿s standalone books to his cynical, ultra-violent mystery series.
I found the characters in this book terrifying, between the mafia, the charismatic psychopath and the sociopathic mastermind.
PIs Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, with backup from friend Bubba Rugowski, investigate the harassment and suicide of Karen Nichols. Excellent, well-written story with good characterization and a plot full of twists and turns.
I read only ones about Patrick and angie
The good guys breaking laws to get rid of the scum of the Earth and also save their own lives. I love the main characters am glad humor was thrown in here and there to keep the book from being all about darkness.