The power of love

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Reads - Re­view by OLINE H. COGDILL Photo: Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

DEN­NIS Le­hane’s crime fic­tion has high­lighted some of the most in­sight­ful looks at par­ent­ing (Gone Baby Gone, 1998), loss of in­no­cence (Mys­tic River, 2001), men­tal health (Shut­ter Is­land, 2003), and the life of mob­sters (Live By Night, 2012).

In his lat­est novel, Le­hane de­liv­ers a poignant story about a woman’s search for her iden­tity, wrapped in a love story. Make no mis­take, Since We Fell is crime fic­tion, filled with con men, mur­der, greed, and re­venge. But the love story gives this novel its heart. And, as one would ex­pect from Le­hane, this is no nor­mal love story. Af­ter all, the first sen­tence of the novel de­scribes the lead char­ac­ter shoot­ing her hus­band, whom she loves.

Since We Fell also marks the first time that Le­hane has de­voted a novel to a fe­male pro­tag­o­nist. Cer­tainly, Le­hane has ex­pertly writ­ten strong women char­ac­ters through­out his ca­reer; Angie Gen­naro is an equal to Pa­trick Ken­zie in his se­ries about those two Bos­ton pri­vate detectives.

But Rachel Childs isn’t a de­tec­tive – she’s not even a broad­cast jour­nal­ist any­more hav­ing had a mas­sive on-cam­era break­down while cov­er­ing the dev­as­tat­ing 2010 earth­quake in Haiti.

Now she barely leaves the house. Rachel’s re­treat from the world de­rives from her child­hood and her self­ish mother’s re­fusal to tell her the name of her fa­ther. Dur­ing her own hunt for her fa­ther, Rachel hired pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tor Brian Delacroix, who told her not to con­tinue her search. Years later, Rachel and Brian met again and even­tu­ally mar­ried. Brian is a very lov­ing hus­band who un­der­stands why she stays at home. The plot turns when Rachel be­comes in­volved in a con­spir­acy that forces her to re-ex­am­ine her choices.

Le­hane im­bues Since We Fell with an in­tense char­ac­ter study, show­ing why Rachel be­came so trou­bled and how she will delve into the strength she didn’t know she had. When vi­o­lence en­ters Rachel’s life, it’s as shock­ing as any of the ac­tion in Le­hane’s hard-boiled nov­els.

In each novel, Le­hane has stretched him­self and taken chances with his sto­ries. Since We Fell meets his high stan­dards, show­ing the power of in­tro­spec­tion and love – and, yes, it is a crime story.

Au­thor: Den­nis Le­hane Pub­lisher: Ecco, crime fic­tion

Since We Fell

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