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Dennis Lehane's Nosedive

Reading Sacred by Dennis Lehane is a strange experience. The first two-thirds is magnificent. The prose, as always, shows why Lehane is praised as a stylist. The book offers good characters and surprising turns.

Then the book goes into a nosedive of insulting clichés and implausible plot twists. It almost seems Lehane had a checklist of the worst clichés of the field and managed to get them all in.

Dennis Lehane's Sacred
It doesn't stop. The entire last third of the book just goes on like this. I wanted to take the novel back to the bookstore and get a refund, but I had already written in the margins. You can imagine what I wrote around the scene where our private eyes trick a college-aged youth into believing a radio station wants to interview him because of his great taste in music, and we get dialogue like this:

  "I'm going to be on the air?"
  "Absolutely. I just need your verbal consent, and - "
  "My what?"
  "You need to tell us it's okay... "
  "Okay? Shìt, it's the balls, man. ... Hey, do I like win a prize or something?"

Gee, can you guess which speaker is supposed to be younger than 25? I can't even imagine a professional novelist giving a middle-aged character lines like this:

"But she, man, she came over here, like, supposedly to buy some weed, you know? And, man, she, I gotta tell ya, she, well, wow, is all I can say."

Yes, that's really in the book.

Dennis Lehane, you owe me an apology and $7.99 plus tax.

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