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Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane

For my Spring Break this year, Elizabeth and I traveled to Boston, Massachusetts .  I’ve never been (though my family was there when my mom was pregnant with me, so it almost counts) and have been dying to see the city for a very long time.  The trip was everything I expected and more, and you can expect some Reading on the Road and reviews of local coffee shops coming at you soon.  To prepare for my trip, I wanted to read some Boston-based books.  I haven’t read a mystery in a while, so I decided to try Dennis Lehane’s Gone, Baby, Gone mostly because I remember all the buzz it got a few years ago when it was made into a movie.

Before I go into specifics, Dennis Lehane, a Boston-area author must be most screenwriters go-to when they want to make a movie that will get people talking.  As I explored various websites for Boston-set books, I found quite a few that had been made into incredible movies, and nearly all of them were by Dennis Lehane.  Gone, Baby, Gone, Shutter Island, and Mystic River… all by Lehane!  This is an author I think I’ll have to read more of.  The movies didn’t disappoint – and everyone knows the book is always better than the movie!

Gone, Baby, Gone follows 2 private detectives (it’s part of a series, so I should have started with the first book for the full experience, but I didn’t feel like that I couldn’t follow the plot starting with this one) as they try to solve the mystery of a missing girl, alongside various branches of the police force.  The story depicts an area of Boston most tourists don’t see – or want to – one that is seedy with drugs, alcoholism, and poverty.  At times, the story was gritty and I wouldn’t recommend it to overly sensitive people, especially if violence against children is something that is difficult for you to read about.  Nonetheless, I didn’t feel that anything was gratuitous.  In fact, in the real world, there is violence against children, and it IS gritty.  I appreciate Lehane’s method of including it in a story without glorifying or sugar-coating what is all too frequent of an occurrence.  Patrick and Angela (the detectives) follow many wrong turns along the way, and the story has a lot of twists, none of which I was able to predict.  The story was a whirlwind, and while I’m thankful I didn’t see the Boston Lehane depicts – I still highly recommend it to realistic mystery lovers.  In fact, I think I’ll check out a few more books from the series!

I give Gone, Baby, Gone 4 stars.  This is the first novel by Dennis Lehane that I’ve read, but I can assure you that it will not be my last! ★★★★

– Becca

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