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A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1)

A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) - Dennis Lehane Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars. Due to Goodreads not allowing for half stars, I rounded it up to 4 stars here.

I got the books in this series years ago because I really l loved the movie, "Gone, Baby Gone." I think I started this book and just went meh. I decided to re-read it and get through the other books in this series since they have been staring at me forever.

I can honestly say that this first book in the series was too all over the place for me. And I think I am supposed to like the main character Patrick, and his partner Angie. Instead I was sick of him, baffled by her, and just hated the ending.

Patrick Kenzie takes a case offered by three local politicians that involves him tracking down a cleaning woman who stole some documents that they want back. Taking the case leads Patrick and Angie into a gang war and sheds some light on what these documents really contain.

This book is told in the first person by Patrick which I think was a weird choice. Especially because the book is called Kenzie and Gennaro, you don't get any points of view from Angie. Instead you get "insight" into her from Patrick which seriously started to work my nerves about halfway through. I wish that Dennis Lehane had just told it in the third person then just so we could have gotten both of their points of view.

Patrick and Angie...eh. I wish that I could say that i was rooting for them. But I honestly was not. We have Patrick and Angie realizing that the documents they are searching for could blow the top off of several people's lives and I am still baffled by the choices they made throughout this book.

Patrick I would call a benign racist (he has a black friend who is a reporter that he calls up), he definitely sees that the way the world is, is not fair and that there are definite disadvantageous to being black, but I honestly felt like the character was just giving lip service to those thoughts. When he decides to dig deeper on the case they are on, after witnessing someone being murdered, the whole thing felt hollow to me.

Angie is dealing with a husband who gets drunk and verbally and physically abuses her. It honestly doesn't make sense at all the way that is all set up. Angie who has a gun who apparently can take care of herself. I didn't get it and have no idea why Lehane shoehorned it in. It didn't even make any freaking sense. I guess as a reader I was supposed to be horrified by what Angie was going through. But it didn't make any sense to me that Patrick, their scary childhood friend Bubba and a ton of other people realized she was being abused and no one went to the police. That storyline gets wrapped up in this book but the whole thing did not have me cheering, just had me more baffled by how Lehane wrapped it up.

The other characters in this story are there to service the plot. I thought the one character (gangland king #1) was a cliche. And a cliche that didn't make any sense. We find out why the other gangland king wants to kill him and their connection and man oh man I scratched my head. The whole storyline was awful and not just because of the subject matter.

The plot was all over the place and the flow was pretty bad. We had Patrick an Angie jumping around a lot and also hiding out and then just getting into shootouts and running again.

When the ending came, everything is wrapped up in a pretty bow. We do have Patrick and Angie talking about the different choices they made for two of the bad guys in this one. I was really wanting them to acknowledge that race came into it. But instead it was kind of hand-waved away.