In one of their first cases, investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro found missing four-year-old Amanda McCready. They returned Amanda to her mother but her mother was of dubious character and the investigators wished that they were bringing Amanda back to a better home. Now, Amanda is sixteen-years-old and her aunt, again, asks their help.
The setting remains the streets of Boston with the homeless, the abandoned, shuttered homes and for many, lost hope.
The economy in 2009 is hurting and unemployment is soaring. Many people who once had decent jobs and could support their families, are now on the streets. Angie is at night school and Patrick's income is barely enough to keep the family in their home.
Amanda's aunt, Beatrice McCready, discloses that Amanda's mother, Helene, isn't providing a good home. Helene is often neglectful and often drinks to excess. Beatrice thinks that Amanda is missing and Helene is hiding the fact.
At first, Patrick didn't want to become involved but now he and Angela have a child of their own, Gabriella, who is four-years-old. When Patrick and Angie talk about rescuing Amanda from her kidnappers but then returning her to an unfit, substance dependent mother, they decide to take the case.
They find that Amanda is an honors student in high school and a Harvard scholarship is hers if she just finishes her courses. They also learn that her friend, Sophie, disappeared along with her.
The story follows the path of the two girls and a black market baby selling operation. Amanda is on the run and has two items that the leader of an eastern European gang, wants. Kirill is as ruthless as they come. He's a meth user and not totally balanced.
Dennis Lehane is a new father and at a recent mystery conference panel discussion, he stated that he wanted this novel to make a statement about parenthood and the economy of 2009.
He accomplished his goals with an excellent addition to the legend of Kenzie and Gennaro.
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