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In the Black Mask days of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, hardboiled private eyes were lone wolves, most of whom worked the mean streets of L.A. and San Francisco. Today, Boston is the fictional PI’s city of choice. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser must now compete with Linda Barnes’ Carlotta Carlyle, Jeremiah Healy’s John Francis Cuddy, and Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. The last two detectives’ debut, A Drink Before the War, earned Lehane the Shamus Award for Best First Private Eye Novel. While he retains such genre conventions as physical danger and smartass remarks in the face of it, the only lone wolves in Lehane’s fiction are its psycho- and sociopathic villains. Though Kenzie, temporarily Gennaro-less, tracks one of these predators in Lehane’s latest, Prayers for Rain, the series is really about the evolving relationship between the two detectives as they walk the mean streets of Dorchester. Lehane discusses and signs Prayers (with local writer George P. Pelecanos on hand) at 1 p.m. at Mystery Bookshop, 7700 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda. Free. (301) 657-2665. (Mark W. Sullivan)