>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011
A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
Series: #1 in Kenzie/Gennaro series
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1994
Source: Library ebook
The Short Version:
It’s a great first in a series with an interesting Private Investigation team who take on the politicians, criminals and the cops.
Why I Read It:
I’ve heard good things about Lehane’s books for years, but never got around to reading any of them. Since I’m incapable of reading any series out of order I had to start with this one.
Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have known each other since school. Partners in a Private Investigation business, they’re likeable, smart-mouthed, tough and best friends. Their business relationship is complicated by the fact that Angela hasn’t left a husband that everyone knows is beating her up regularly. Brought up in blue-collar Boston, they run their business out of the bell tower of a church (trust me there is an explanation) but they’re not intimidated by powerful and wealthy clients.
They’re hired by a powerful politician to track down a cleaning woman he claims has stolen documents from his office and he needs those papers back. Finding the woman turns out to be as simple as Kenzie and Gennaro expect it to be, but then the whole job goes way off the rails pretty quickly.
Before it’s over it’s a mess of political corruption, gang wars, domestic violence, murder and pretty much everything that goes along with them. But through it all, the friendship and history they have that keeps the two investigators going in their efforts to do their job and also let justice prevail.
I have a few bookish friends who are in big trouble for not wrestling me to the floor and forcing me to read this book and start this series ages ago. This is just the kind of series I like. Protagonists that are both smart and smart mouthed as well as being tough as nails too. I loved that it is a male/female team. Yes there’s some romantic tension, Kenzie flirts with his partner relentlessly, but at the same time his own history lets him know that ultimately if she’s going to leave her abusive husband it’s going to be on her own terms and time. As a friend he struggles with that.
As investigative partners, they’re fun. The banter and humor is there, but the action and suspense are too. Parts of the story were somewhat predictable, but there were plenty of surprises along the way. Despicable villains and some fun secondary characters kept both the action and the dialog fun, scary and interesting.
I’m definitely looking forward to continuing with this series.