Set in contemporary Boston, this expertly wrought character study masquerading as a thriller from Edgar-winner Dennis Lehane (World Gone By) features his first-ever female protagonist. Once a star journalist, until something snapped during her TV coverage of the devastation in Haiti following the 2009 earthquake, Rachel Childs now barely leaves her house. Lehane portrays the frantic hamster wheel of waxing and waning anxiety with unnerving clarity. A lifetime of tension, much of it spawning from her now-deceased mother’s refusal to disclose the identity of Rachel’s father, weighs on Rachel. The quest to put a name to half her DNA is what first sets Rachel on a collision course with Brian Delacroix, a PI (or so he claims) who advises her against the whole thing. Fast forward several years, and Rachel and Brian meet again. Their eventual marriage is romantic and life-affirming, as Brian coaxes Rachel through the swamp of her psyche, until it’s suddenly not. The book’s conspiracy plot doesn’t cut the deepest; it’s Lehane’s intensely intimate portrayal of a woman tormented by her own mind. 15-city tour.
Dennis Lehane. Ecco, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-212938-3
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