Who doesn’t love a good series?

A Reader’s Respite loves, loves, loves a good series of novels.  Yes, getting sucked into a series means your reading schedule goes to hell in the proverbial hand-basket, but if the series is a good one, it’s worth the disruption.  In fact, it can be downright bliss.

If you enjoy a good mystery/thriller with sharp, witty dialog and a gritty undertone, you won’t want to miss Dennis Lehane’s Kenzie/Geranno series.

drink before the war 

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Geranno grew up as childhood sweethearts on the wrong side of the tracks in Boston.  While their childhood romance didn’t quite work out the way they had planned, they do find that they make a good investigative team.


As private investigators, Patrick and Angie get drawn into the dark and seedy underground of Boston.  And while their caustic wit creates laugh-out-loud moments, don’t for one moment mistake these novels for a cozy-mystery.


On the contrary, each of the Kenzie/Geranno novels is dark, violent and filled with ethical dilemmas as complex as the characters themselves, often leaving the reader wondering just what you would do in the same situation.  This is part of the addiction to this series.


With six books in the series (Lehane says that the latest book will indeed be the last), character development and evolution is a key component to the wild success of this series.  Both Patrick and Angela are complex characters.  Angie, for example, is one tough cookie…a no-nonsense private investigator.  Yet when we first meet her, this gun-toting PI is also an abused wife.  The dichotomy is compelling.

prayers for rain

Patrick Kenzie has his own demons to defeat.  His career as a private investigator has left him so jaded that a normal life is all but impossible.  His efforts to find a place of peace are heart-breaking and oh-so-human. 

And while the chemistry between Patrick and Angie is at times palatable, it is in no way gratuitous.  Don’t be looking for happy endings here.  Like the ethical dilemmas they face, Patrick and Angie’s relationship is…well…it’s complicated.


Although many people claim that any of the books may be read as a stand-alone, we don’t recommend that.  Start at the beginning and experience the rare series that demands you  read each book immediately after finishing the last.

The books in the order written:

  1. A Drink Before the War (1994)
  2. Darkness, Take My Hand (1996)
  3. Sacred (1997)
  4. Gone, Baby, Gone (1998)
  5. Prayers for Rain (1999)
  6. Moonlight Mile (2010)*

*Note the eleven year time lapse between Prayers for Rain and Moonlight Mile. 

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