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By Dennis Lehane

Harper, 2007 ($7.99)
ISBN-10: 0061374199
ISBN-13: 978-0061374197

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

"Each day in this country, twenty-three hundred children are reported missing..." "...Of these cases, three hundred children disappear every year and never return."

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are private investigators. They grew up in Dorchester, a working-class neighborhood in Boston where Amanda, a 4-year-old child, is now missing. The child was abducted while left home alone by her neglectful mother.

Neither of them want to take the case, but they are pressured to by the young girl's aunt and uncle. The police have been unable to locate the missing girl. Given the possibilities the young child faces, from sexual abuse to mutilation or death, it seems the case will likely not have a happy ending.

Kenzie and Gennaro team up with the two cops assigned to the case from the Crimes Against Children squad. The mother's history of drugs and alcohol leads them to a prison inmate, and to Boston's criminal underworld. And that's certainly no place a 4-year-old child should be.

The author is noted for combining memorable characters, dialog, and vivid settings. I've never been to Boston but I feel like I have after reading this book. The subject matter is gritty and not for the faint of heart. Those who enjoy edgy psychological thrillers will find themselves turning the pages furiously as they read. No sense starting to read before bedtime. Allow yourself plenty of time to start and finish. Long after the final page has been read, many readers will still be pondering the implications for today's society, in real life. It's a haunting tale that the reader won't soon forget.

Although this is the fourth book in the series featuring Kenzie and Gennaro, it is the first I've read. Now I am eager to read the others in the series.

Titles in the Kenzie/Gennaro series include A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR (1996), DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND (1997), SACRED (1998), GONE, BABY, GONE (1999), and PRAYERS FOR RAIN (2000).

Other titles by this author include CORONADO, SHUTTER ISLAND, and MYSTIC RIVER.

GONE BABY GONE is also the title of the motion picture based on this book. The movie was directed by Ben Affleck. It stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, and Ed Harris. The film is scheduled to be release February12, 2008 on DVD.

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