In the field of contemporary crime writers Dennis Lehane is the best. I did not start reading his books until after 1999, so I didn't have to wait 11 years for this next novel in the series which features the team of Kenzie and Gennaro, last seen between the covers (book-wise) in Prayers for Rain.This man can flat out write. He has penned many a memorable line such as public outcry was loud enough to lead ships ashore through night fog and he can perfectly set a scene or describe a character in a simple sentence. He's just not running on all cylinders with this one. Too many times people in this book seem to be hard of hearing, as in: "Now? Now now." or "She was always high. High?" It's not his best plot or finest dialogue. But it's still better than most crime writers can come up with.I really liked the character of Amanda. Very smart and cool in a bad situation. And for those not familiar with the lead character, Patrick Kenzie is a wisecracking smartaleck private investigator not afraid to put his ass on the line. Too many years on the job have him jaded and ready to get out of the business. The author agrees with him and in all probability this will be the last novel in this series. It's better to burn out than fade away as Neil Young would sing it.If you've never read anything by the author start with the first in this series, A Drink Before the War or the it-should-have-won-a-Pulitzer The Given Day.