Sacred by Dennis Lehane – review

sacred dennis lehaneAfter the tragic consequences and dense frailty of Darkness Take My Hand Lehane announces his intentions of a more light hearted romp with the first sentence of Sacred.

“A piece of advice: If you ever follow someone in my neighborhood, don’t wear pink.”

Sacred is an over the top jaunt that is told with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Lehane takes a few common clichés of the genre: the aging/dying billionaire, the PI who gets too close to his subject, the sexy siren song of a black widow and infuses them with a near absurd level of twists and turns. Over the years as fans and readers have had discussions in which they rank the books Sacred invariably is put at the bottom of the list, almost always with variations of the comment “I just didn’t like it.” I will grant that the over all tone of Sacred doesn’t fit in with the rest of the books but at the same time I just don’t see how people have missed the great big wink and smile that Lehane gives right from the outset.

Patrick and Angie are hired by dying billionaire Trevor Stone. He wants them to find his missing daughter Desiree whom he wants found before he dies. Previously Stone had hired Patrick’s mentor to find her but he too has disappeared. Patrick and Angie have closed their office and aren’t taking any cases after the events of Darkness Takes My Hand. They try to refuse but Stone offers them an amount of money that is hard to turn away so they find themselves on the case. Lies, deceit and deception pile up fast and they soon discover that no one is to be trusted.

But the fact that Sacred offers a bit of respite to Patrick and Angie and the tone is lighter doesn’t mean that the story isn’t solid. Lehane continues to build the two main characters allowing their relationship to unfold and evolve organically never feeling rushed. One has to appreciate how much care Lehane puts into developing his characters. His skill is displayed on every page and the beams of the story are never exposed and nothing is ever extraneous.

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Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

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About Brian Lindenmuth

Brian is the non-fiction editor of Spinetingler magazine and one of the fiction editors of Snubnose Press. In addition to Spinetingler his work has appeared in Crimespree magazine and at BSC Review, Galleycat and the Mulholland Books website. He also heads the Spinetingler Award committee.

One Reply to “Sacred by Dennis Lehane – review”

  1. Sacred is such a bizarre book. It comes after Darkness, arguably the best serial killer mystery of all time, and is just straight up wacky shit. That said, somehow the book works for me really well, only behind Darkness and Gone Baby Gone in my personal ranking of the series. Hope the new one kicks ass as well.