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Mystic River
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Lehane ventures beyond his acclaimed private eye series with this emotionally wrenching crime drama about the effects of a savage killing on a tightly knit, blue-collar Boston neighborhood. Written with a sensitivity toward character that exceeds his previous efforts, the story tracks the friendship of three boys from a defining moment in their childhood, when 11-year-old Dave Boyle was abducted off the streets of East Buckingham and sexually molested by two men before managing to escape. Boyle, Jimmy Marcus and Sean Devine grow apart as the years pass, but a quarter century later they are thrust back together when Marcus's 19-year-old daughter, Katie, is murdered in a local park. Marcus, a reformed master thief turned family man, goes through a period of intense grief, followed by a thirst for revenge. Devine, now a homicide cop assigned to the murder, tries to control his old friend while working to make sense of the baffling case, which involves turning over the past as much as it does sifting through new evidence. In time, Devine begins to suspect Boyle, a man of many ghoulish secrets who has led a double life ever since the molestation. Lehane's story slams the reader with uncomfortable images, a beautifully rendered setting and an unnerving finale. With his sixth novel, the author has replaced the graphic descriptions of crime and violence found in his Patrick Kenzie-Angela Gennaro series (Prayers for Rain; Gone, Baby, Gone) with a more pensive, inward view of life's dark corners. It's a change that garners his themesÄregret over life choices, the psychological imprints of childhood, personal and professional compromiseÄa richer context and his characters a deeper exploration. Agent, Ann Rittenberg. (Feb. 6) Forecast: Given the excitement in-house at Morrow that this is Lehane's breakthrough book, and the promotion they're placing behind it, it stands an excellent chance of leaping straight onto the bestseller lists. A one-day laydown, $250,000 ad-promo and an 11-city author tour, plus a blurb from Michael Connelly designating Lehane as "the heir apparent," should provide the groundwork for explosive sales. Rights have been sold in the U.K., France and Germany, and there will be a large-print edition as well as an audio from Harper Audio. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

In his fifth novel, and his first not involving P.I. Patrick Kenzie (Prayers for Rain), Lehane once again proves himself nonpareil in writing about the dark side of the human character. Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle are childhood friends until Dave's abduction by, and subsequent escape from, a couple of child molesters. Twenty-five years later, having grown apart, they are thrown together again by the murder of Jimmy's daughter, Katie. Jimmy is the grieving father out for vengeance, Sean the investigating officer, and Dave a possible suspect. The investigation forces each man to face his past and to examine the paths they have followed since the fateful day when Dave was abducted. What separates Lehane's work from standard noir fare is his ability to endow his characters with such complexity that the reader may understand their actions, even while not necessarily agreeing with them. He has crafted another winner this time around, one certain to move quickly off public library shelves. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/00.]DCraig Shufelt, Gladwin Cty. Lib., MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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