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Prayers for Rain Hardcover – May 19, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

Prayers for Rain is Dennis Lehane's fifth installment in his intricately plotted, beautifully written, and much underacknowledged Boston mystery series. Lehane's books reflect our morally complex times, when the borders between right and wrong are somewhat blurry.

Private investigator Patrick Kenzie is in the middle of a personal crisis--he's lost his passion for the profession, and is tired of people with their "predictable vices, their predictable needs and wants and dormant desires." Angie Gennaro, his occasional sweetheart, lifelong friend, and fellow investigator has quit the business. She's still deeply resentful about Patrick's handling of the Amanda McCready case, the focus of Gone, Baby, Gone. Without Angie, private investigating has lost its fizz.

The suicide of a former client, Karen Nichols, gives Kenzie his investigative itch back. Six months earlier, Kenzie tracked down a stalker who had been harassing Nichols, and put an end to his heinous hobby. But Nichols needed more help than this PI could ever have imagined. "She'd been drowning, and I'd been busy." The successful, middle-class young woman had been sinking into a sea of drugs, alcohol, and prostitution, hitting the bottom when she jumped from the Boston Custom House. Her death consumes Kenzie--he is convinced that someone pulled her into the vortex, although her nearest and dearest simply call her weak.

Kenzie teams up with his explosive, loving, gun-toting friend Bubba Rogowski, and, after a boozy reunion, Angie Gennaro joins them. This fearless threesome must surely be the most original team in contemporary crime fiction. Good at the core--but seriously screwed up by various demons from their pasts--tact and decorum is hardly their style. They work their way across Boston, doing whatever it takes to question Nichols's family and acquaintances. By unveiling the real Nichols, tragic family secrets, betrayals, and conspiracies are also unmasked.

If you haven't experienced Dennis Lehane's world before, be prepared for an invigorating new reading experience. --Naomi Gesinger

From Publishers 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 neighborhoodAwith the occasional help of his loyal and happily homicidal pal Bubba RogowskiAwhile 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 stalkerAin an extremely satisfying wayAand 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 didAall at the same time. Everyone, including the policeAand Karen's strangely unsympathetic familyAchalks 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 lawAone 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. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (May 19, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068815333X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688153335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (316 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Always look forward to a Dennis Lehane book.
Jerry Finley
While Mystic River remains my favorite Lehane novel, Prayers for Rain is my favorite in the Kenzie/Gennaro series.
Bebbia J.
Not only was the plot fast paced and well-written, with plenty of twists, but the character development was great.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Linda S. Galok on December 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I read an average of two books a week and I never felt a need to recommend any author. I read all of Dennis Lehane's books, except A Drink Before the War and I'm waiting for a responsibility free weekend to read it so I won't have to put it down. I read Sacred twice and found it just as amazing the second time as the first. Dennis Lehane's characters really are characters but they are totally believable. Patrick Kenzie, as the main character, tells you the story but he doesn't make himself an invincible hero, just a guy you wouldn't want to date, but would feel lucky to have as a friend. Angie, as his partner, is, of course, beautiful but even with her aggressive, sometimes belligerent attitude, she's human too, staying in an abusive relationship for 12 years. Bubba, although he's a psychotic criminal, has a soft, fuzzy side that's really likable (from a distance). Some won't like the graphic violence in Prayers or Darkness but I think the media has made us jaded enough to deal with it within the context of the stories. I didn't read the stories in order but I think each book is well written enough to stand on its own. I'm wondering how long Dennis Lehane will be able to keep the series going and hoping one new book a year for the next 20 or 30 years isn't too much to ask.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Schreiber on July 10, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is my first Dennis Lehane book but it won't be my last. As a lover of crime fiction, especially Michale Connelly and James Lee Burke, I simply devoured Prayers for Rain. The dialogue is so snappy, and often so humorous, you don't realize an entire chapter has passed. It took me no time at all to get a sense of Kenzie, Bubba and Ange. These are characters you quickly get to know and care about. Kenzie has a love for the Marx Brothers, and I imagine that comes from Dennis Lehane himself, as the banter between the principals can be very funny. Despite the breezy and punchy style, there's enough darkness to satisfy the hard-boiled. And there is some effective writing here. There were several passages I made note of so that I could relay them to friends, the description and dialogue was that good. If you're going to the beach this summer, or even spending a weekend on the couch, you'll eagerly consume the zero-calorie treat that is this book.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on May 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I got hooked on Lehane after Mystic River, and his thriller Shutter Island was absolutely gripping and completely mind-twisting. I had to stay up late one night to finish that, and I couldn't sleep afterwards, so I had to read a Dave Barry book to take my mind off it! I should have learned my lesson, because as soon as I got into Prayers for Rain, I couldn't get the creepiness and mystery out of my head, and I once again had to stay up late to finish the entire book.

I'm a snob who usually avoids genre fiction, and I have a sneaking suspicion this might be found in the mystery/crime genre section, but Lehane is really a league above the other mytery writers I have read. Lehane is a masterful storyteller and has a rock solid plot here. He's very talented with the psychological aspects of crime (very much so in Shutter Island...I fear my review is becoming a big ad for that book!), and I wished he had further developed some of the psychological aspects in this book.

The lesson I've learned about Lehane is that he is such a good and creepy storyteller than I'm no longer reading any of his books in bed late at night. They are only to be digested when I am lying on the beach. If you enjoy thrillers, definitely get this book, and be prepared to be blown away by a well-crafted plot.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Grey Wolffe VINE VOICE on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lehane has outdone himself on this one. Starting with a seemingly sad unconnnected event (the suicide of a client Kenzie only spoke to once, and then forgot to respond to her phone message), Kenzie begins a search for truth. It will lead him back from the depressive edge of insanity that resulted from the events of 'Gone,Baby,Gone' and once again into the arms of Angela Gennaro (hopefully for good).

What makes these five Boston based mysteries, so amazing, isn't the tight plotting, but it is the detailed descriptions of what his characters do and think. There are very few throw-away characters, and almost all of them are represented as real people. The motivation, to present everyone as more than just a shell, is one of the hallmarks of Lehane's writing.

This is a well structured, and even plausible story, that builds to a climax, just when it should, but with Lehane, the ending always takes you back a step, reminding you that there are no fairytale endings. Your never sure if anyone will live, happily or be the same after it's over.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Avid reader on November 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Dennis Lehane's mind is a wonderful instrument. His Kenzie/Gennaro series is so original that for the time being, I have forsaken the reading of any other fiction, choosing instead to keep returning to A Drink Before the War, etc. just because I can't believe how beautifully Lehane uses language to pull us in and make us care. Oh my god, but I love this series of books!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on June 3, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my first venture w/this series by the author and I might have benefitted from reading the four previous novels involving Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro as some of the interplay between them alluded to previous matters. My first Lehane experience was Mystic River which, in my opinion, is a stand alone classic. This is a different breed of cat, but an interesting one, nonetheless.
Kenzie has helped a young woman who claimed that a man from her gym was stalking her and that he had in fact trashed her car. This matter is easily set right by Kenzie and his side-kick and protector, Bubba Rogowski. A few months later the young lady jumps naked from the 24th story of the Custom House Tower in Boston. Kenzie feels some moral responsibility to look in to the matter as he had neglected to return a call from the woman before heading of to Bermuda with a tempoary romantic interest and when he got back he had forgotten to call.
His looking into the matter sets him on a chilling course of events which are better read than described here. Kenzie/Gennaro/Rodowski make a formidable and somewhat entertaining team, although some of the diologue and situations strain credulity a bit. All in all, a read that you will enjoy and be reluctant to put down until the rather twisted ending is revealed.
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