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A Drink Before the War (Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Dennis Lehane
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (421 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As richly complex and brutal as the terrain it depicts, here is the mesmerizing, darkly original novel that heralded the arrival of Dennis Lehane, the master of the new noir -- and introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his smart and tough private investigators weaned on the blue-collar streets of Dorchester.

A cabal of powerful Boston politicians is willing to pay Kenzie and Gennaro big money for a seemingly small job: to find the missing cleaning woman who stole some secret documents. As Kenzie and Gennaro learn, however, this crime is no ordinary theft. It's about justice. About right and wrong. But in Boston, finding the truth isn't just a dirty business ... it's deadly.

Books In This Series (2 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    From Publishers Weekly

    Lehane's assured debut avoids several common first-mystery flaws before stalling on a less ordinary one. Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, two young, smart-mouthed Boston PIs, are hired by a trio of prominent macho politicians to find a State House cleaning woman who may have purloined some important "documents." The pair quickly learns that Jenna Angeline has no documents. She does have a son and a husband who lead rival black street gangs, an angry sister and a photo of one of the pols with her husband in a hotel room. While helping Patrick, Jenna is gunned down in a hail of Uzi fire; gang war is quickly declared, and the two detectives aim for a plan that will avenge the innocent and punish the guilty. Lehane leaps right into the action; more gradually, we learn about Pat's abusive father, Angie's abusive husband and the attraction smoldering between the two principals. The light tone and whipsaw banter, however, can't carry the pace when the action later slows in this mystery that starts with a bang and goes on shooting-but doesn't hit the bull's eye.
    Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    From Library Journal

    In this first novel, set in Boston, violence swirls around narrator Patrick Kenzie and partner Angleo Gennaro. This intrepid investigative duo are hired by two state senators to locate a black cleaning woman who filched several sensitive "documents." They find her easily enough, but the items she took, which point to child prostitution and political corruption, cause gang warfare and murder. Lehane's minimal use of literary references helps establish character, as do his frequent allusions to child abuse and wife battering. Rough and tumble action for a high energy, likable pair.
    Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 966 KB
    • Print Length: 302 pages
    • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (July 9, 2010)
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B003GYEH2E
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,633 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    131 of 136 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Where has Lehane been hiding? March 5, 2000
    By A Customer
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    Started on this series based on a recommendation I read from Michael Connelly (author of a bunch of books, most recently Void Moon). Had never heard of him before --- but man, oh man! This book is incredible, a true page turner --- in a time when page turners really are kind of rare. Mystery-thrillers seem to follow a set formula that a seasoned fan/reader can spot from the beginning. I fell in love with Patrick and Angie and even Bubba. Lehane's characters are so REAL, you feel like you really do know them. They're screwy, quirky, flawed, funny as hell,one or two are downright psychopaths, but you're bound to love them. Tight, well-written -- masterfully written to be honest. Buy this today, and while you're at it, go ahead and order the next four (Darkness, Take My Hand, Sacred, Gone, Baby Gone, and Prayers for Rain). You'll need them fast. This book will leave you literally thirsting for more Lehane.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Man, Oh Man, I loved this! May 26, 2000
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
    Based upon customer reviews of Dennis LeHane's series of novels featuring detectives Kenzie and Gennaro, I bought all of them at one time and have just finished this series debut. I had not quite finished it last night when I went to bed. After about 30 minutes of wondering what was going to happen, I got up and finished the book in the middle of the night. That's gotta tell you something! I am mesmerized by the characters: the detectives are sharp, quirky, risk-taking folks most of the time; and they surround themselves with a wonderful assortment of cohorts from Bubba the bodyguard to Devin and Oscar the cops. Throw in a sympathetic priest and you have an excellent mix of lovable, if not quite understandable, characters. The story was gripping, terrifying and believable. I couldn't wait to start "Darkness, Take my Hand, " the second in the series, but I did wait until the coffee perked this a.m. A must read, but read the series in order so you don't miss the personal and touching references to the childhoods and personal lives of the heroes!
    Was this review helpful to you?
    87 of 91 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    I don't give five stars easily -- to anything. If the rating system had 1/2 stars, I might have chosen 4 1/2, but that still would have made A Drink Before the War a great read. The first 100 pages had me scratching my head, wondering what all the fuss has been about Dennis Lehane. I read the book on a recommendation from a pal whose tastes I trust, and I wasn't getting this one. Then...everything changed. Lead character Patrick Kenzie's PI wise-cracking was getting on my nerves. Angie Gennaro's role as his PI partner and domestic punching bag was getting on my nerves. Lehane's tendency to put Kenzie on a soapbox doing riffs on race and politics was getting on my nerves. Then, the "schtick" gave way to a compelling and fast-moving story, with action and intelligence and a plot that I wouldn't have figured out for the world, and I'm good at it. The full body of the story made up for what I felt was a weak start off and came to a shuddering end that left me reeling. All was forgiven. There's no way that I could give this book less than a top rating. Dennis Lehane is on his way to being one of the masters, if only he would tone down the "schtick".
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    32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning for Dennis Lehane September 11, 2003
    Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
    To find a great mystery writer is akin to a great bottle of wine for me. Dennis Lehane is one of the best mystery writers around. His stories center around Boston and South Boston is the neighborhood. In "A Drink Before the War" we meet Patrick Kenzie and Anglea Gennaro- a private detective team. Both are locked into their own mysteries- that of abvuse- Patick abuse from his father, a powerful man in his own right. And Angela abuse from her husband. The hint of a relationship is there, but it is subtle and nothing is out in the open.
    This mystery opens with a cleaning woman who has stolen papers from an important Boston politico. She asks for assistance and as the storyline deepens- race relations between black and white come to the fore. The streets of Boston are explored and explained. There is violence in this mystery and some of it is not pleasant but somehow opens the mystery to deeper understanding. The writing is superb. This is the beginning of a series exploring Patrick and Angela's relationship and their business partnership. Come along on the journey of Dennis Lehane into the streets and neighborhood of Boston. One of the best writers available- collect all of his books. You will thank me. prisrob
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    24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant June 23, 2001
    Format:Mass Market Paperback
    This is Lehane's first book, and what a devastatingly brilliant book it is too. It introduces us to Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro and their private investigation business in their hometown of Boston. The Boston we get to see, though, is the lower working class and slum areas of town. This is a hardboiled thriller to the core. Patrick Kenzie is haunted by memories of his abusive father; Angie Gennaro is married to an abusive husband. Together they have a fantastic chemistry in which they can virtually read each other's minds.
    Kenzie and Gennaro are hired by a local Senator to find a black cleaning woman who was in his employ until she disappeared with some important documents. The case is simple, find the woman and return the documents. The woman is found, but from this point on, things start to go wrong, and it's clear that Kenzie and Gennaro haven't been told the whole story. They soon find themselves caught up in a gangland war where survival is looking less and less likely.
    The dialogue is witty and sharp, the story is very well paced and the characters are very believable and all too real-life. I have read all the other Kenzie-Gennaro books before this one (shame on me for reading this out of order) and rate it very highly in comparison. In actual fact, it would have been of great benefit if I had have read this book first as it puts into perspective events that occur in the later books.
    Comment | 
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good read
    I started reading Dennis Lehane after seeing Gone Baby Gone and hearing him on the radio show On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Read more
    Published 6 days ago by Ms. Java
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Great start to a too short series.
    Published 7 days ago by Steven L Beverly
    5.0 out of 5 stars and plot twists and turns to produce a series that does not dull with...
    If you are not a "serial" not start reading Lehane. If you start, begin with his first book, and follow the sequence and character development... Read more
    Published 8 days ago by Jerry Ring
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner!
    This was the first book I’ve read by Dennis Lehane. This book had a lot of twists and turns. Investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro were tasked by their clients to find... Read more
    Published 9 days ago by Loretta M. Ulmer
    5.0 out of 5 stars As usual, a Dennis Lehame book lives up to ...
    As usual, a Dennis Lehame book lives up to expectations.. His characters are well realized and exhibit a full range of human emotions. Read more
    Published 10 days ago by D Herman
    4.0 out of 5 stars good writing
    Good writing, great imagery, builds a great world. Where it falls apart is the actual story, but the telling of it is so complete, that all is forgiven to the point that I enjoyed... Read more
    Published 16 days ago by ML
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Good book. Good character development by Lehane. Want to read other Lehane novels.
    Published 1 month ago by patriot vic
    3.0 out of 5 stars Metaphors galor and fun to read.
    I'm not much of a reader of detective stories but I must admit this author has style to burn! Every paragraph bursts with clever metaphors and his characters are very much alive.
    Published 1 month ago by R. Hayden
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 1 month ago by claude del mas
    1.0 out of 5 stars The ending ?????????? What the?
    Loved the book right up until the ending. Then I couldn't believe such a great writer would end like this. Very sorry I spent the time with it.
    Published 1 month ago by Mike Stone
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