The fourth in the Kenzie/Gennaro series, this is obviously the most famous of the now six books in the series. There is one obvious reason for this: Ben Affleck chose to adapt it for his 2007 directorial debut. As you can imagine, I have seen the film adaptation, which makes this read a weird one, as I do not tend to read a book if I have seen the movie. Hell, up until the past few years, it was rare for me to have read anything that had been adapted into a film even after the fact--then I took a shit on my high-brow reading tendencies...
I had always intended to just skip this. Then Moonlight Mile came out. Since it is basically a follow-up to the case in Gone, Baby, Gone, I no longer felt like I could skip it while still reading the signed copy of his newest novel that I picked up.
Just about everyone who comes here regularly has probably seen the film adaptation. I will not say that the film is better. It isn't necessarily worse either. The more interesting aspects of the comparison between the two really lied in the choices that Ben Affleck had to make to trim a 400-page (in the pocket paperback copy I have) novel into a two-hour movie. Some characters were absorbed into others. The scene at the house when they finally find Amanda McCready is actually better with the onus for the decision lying totally on Patrick Kenzie's shoulders. There are smaller sections of the book that are basically rolled into others. All of the choices make sense insofar as being able to tell a cohesive story in a shorter time-frame.
Now that isn't to say that you need not read the book. If you haven't seen the movie, the book is definitely the way to go. Lehane's prose is rock-solid as always. He has the neo-noir genre down pat and owns every word. Really, you shouldn't need an excuse to read Dennis Lehane.
Despite the fact that both Bubba Rogowski and Patrick would disapprove: here you go: