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Small Mercies - The Return of Dennis Lehane

 A time honored tradition at The Hungry Detective HQ is to perform the twice annual, and largely ceremonial, 'Dennis Lehane New book 20XX" Google search. Nothing comes up on his long abandoned Website, except notification of the script work for his television and film projects.

 Grousing aside, 2022 was a big year for Mr. Lehane. BLACK BIRD, a show he created, played on Apple+ to solid acclaim. The show's star, Paul Walter Hauser, won a Golden Globe. But despite that I have yet to watch it. Not for any other reason than I am a movie person more than a TV person. The TV I do watch is watched in an arcane order that is difficult to decipher and even more baffling to explain. Short story, I need to watch ANDOR [Editor's Note: Slow going on ANDOR despite everyone telling me it is amazing.] And then BLACK BIRD, or maybe SLOW HORSES. I'll get there...

 Anyway at the dead end of 2022, I did the search. Found out he wrote a book. SMALL MERCIES. I was excited to hear it. I have written before that his first 4 books are just about the most important books I have read. I remember thinking I was reading a secret, the future of Crime Fiction. Right place, right time, right book. They are foundational texts to me, and for that reason I will always be a publication day buyer.

 As a quick aside. I read a Variety article from about a month ago. Mr. Lehane signed a TV deal with Apple+. And while I would much rather have a book to read, I'm glad he has found a comfortable home in Television. The reason for this diversion is that the name of his production company is Hans Bubby. That's a DIE HARD reference right? Right? Link for the article is below.

 The big 'but' that is implied here is that beginning with SHUTTER ISLAND, I have had conflicted feelings about his work. SHUTTER ISLAND didn't land for me but 20 years later feels like I should give a re-read. THE GIVEN DAY was ultimately not for me. I was very disappointed in MOONLIGHT MILE. Liked LIVE BY NIGHT but thought WORLD GONE BY was treading water. SINCE WE FELL was solid, but given the pedigree I wanted something more. And then silence for 6 years on the book front while he worked on various script and TV projects.

 The complication that falls squarely at my feet is that Mr. Lehane has not been an every year author going on 20 years. He doesn't fall into the Robert Crais mold of every 18-24 months or the James Ellroy model of every 3-4 years. Mr. Lehane is going to write a book when every he feels like it. That could be 3 years, that could be 7. The complication then is that every book is an event for me and therefor the potential to be elite Crime Fiction. But not every book can be DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND or GONE BABY GONE. 

 SMALL MERCIES release on on April 25th, I wonder where will it land?


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