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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Be forewarned: this is not a new "novel" by Dennis Lehane. It is a novelization of a screenplay developed from a short story, "Animal Rescue," by Lehane which appeared in an anthology, Boston Noir, in 2009--according to the flyleaf--and the rights to the "novel" are owned by 20th Century Fox.

I regret to say the writing, except for the first chapter, the aforementioned "Animal Rescue," only marginally resembles Lehane. The tone is the same, many of the words, but the skill, the talent, the depth of Lehane's usual work--the heart and soul--is missing. The paperback, admittedly an Advance Reader's Edition, is short, sketchy, sloppy, filled with typos and errors (toward the end, a main character, Nadia, is referred to as Natalie, and Bob's relationship to Cousin Marv is described one way in the early part of the book, and another at the end); nine-tenths of the book seems lazily written. The film, made from this expanded short story, may be excellent, but the book is misrepresented. As a courtesy to readers, particularly Lehane fans, the publishers and Amazon Vine should make that clear.

Too bad, too, because lonely bartender Bob Saginowski and Rocco, the puppy he rescues, are interesting and appealing, and I cared what happened to them. Rounding out the cast of book and film are Cousin Marv, who "owns" the bar where Bob works, a woman named Nadia, Eric Deeds, a sociopathic ex-con, a Boston detective named Torres, a threatened Catholic parish, and members of the Chechen mob who control the criminal enterprise in Bob's section of Boston. But all the characters, with the possible exception of Bob and Cousin Marv, are so thinly developed that we never get to know them fully or care about them. They are outlines rather than flesh and blood, with dialogue, mannerisms, and behaviors that border on cliche. They read, in effect, like a "treatment." The plot is somewhat suspenseful, but it, too, lacks mood and depth, and the denouement seems a little too contrived and pat. The Drop reads like what it is: a book-from-the-movie. It's visual, short, less than typical Lehane--except for the character of Bob and Cousin Marv, perhaps, and not all that satisfying.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
We are back on the mean streets of Boston in "The Drop," by Dennis Lehane. Christmas is over and Bob Saginowski, who tends bar for his Cousin Marv, spends his days working, going to church, and looking for a companionable female to alleviate his loneliness. He has little luck with dating, but as fate would have it, Bob comes across a puppy who was abused and subsequently discarded. Bob takes in and cares for the dog, whom he names Rocco. Unfortunately, nothing ever comes easily for Bob or Marv. Someone gets wind of Bob's new pet and pronounces himself the dog's rightful owner. In addition, members of a ruthless Chechen syndicate, who actually own the bar that Marv manages, are none too pleased when masked gunmen hold up their establishment and abscond with five thousand dollars. There will be consequences.

In this concise and hard-edged novel, Lehane entertains us with punchy, amusing, albeit profane dialogue, and brief sketches of hardened, selfish, and greedy individuals, some of whom are as dim-witted as they are heartless. Although several of the characters are quick to take offense, they fail to realize that they have no monopoly on rage. Blood flows freely in "The Drop" and, as the story progresses, our hero must decide whether it is in his best interests to avoid confrontation at all costs.

"The Drop" is about clueless lowlifes who try to score easy money, put one over on their enemies, and avoid being blown away. In addition, a suspicious detective named Torres takes a dislike to Bob and comes sniffing around, looking to bust him for something. The plot is fast-paced and edgy, and Lehane dishes up some twists that few will see coming. This is a bleak and savage world in which people go to great lengths to maintain a semblance of self-respect, fend off anyone who poses a threat, and in Bob's case, find love. To sum up what seems to be Dennis Lehane's worldview: "The worst in men is commonplace. The best is a far rarer thing."
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on September 5, 2014
It all started with a puppy.

Bob Saginowski is a sad-sack bartender, living in the house he grew up in, spending his time shuffling between work, home, and mass at his childhood church. He's a loner; his only real companion (and that's a bit of a stretch) is his cousin Marv, who used to own the bar Bob works at, although the bar is now really owned by Chechen mobsters. Bob spends his days wishing for a way out of his loneliness, and he's hiding a secret or two as well.

One cold winter night while walking home from work, he finds a badly beaten puppy in a trash can. Although the responsibility of caring for something scares him, he rescues the dog and ultimately bringing it home with him. When he finds the dog he also encounters Nadia, a world-weary woman who has seen more than her share of problems. Without expecting it, he finds himself caring for both Nadia and the dog and is utterly unprepared for how it feels.

But all is not rosy for Bob—not only is his church closing, but the bar gets robbed, he catches the eye of a dogged cop determined to make something of himself again, and the dog's original owner, an unstable ex-con with an agenda of his own, returns and wants what he believes is his. It's more than enough to make Bob wonder what path he should follow, and what the consequences of his actions will be.

Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors of all time. While this isn't as good as Mystic River or a number of his Kenzie and Gennaro novels, I really like Lehane best when his writing leans more toward grittier, violent character studies than some of the historic material he's covered in his last two books. I love his use of language, both in dialogue and description, and while not everything that happens in the book is surprising, he still knows how to create some good tension.

I learned after I read The Drop (in a little more than one day) that it is an expansion of a short story Lehane wrote in 2009, which explains why, even at just under 250 pages, I felt the book was a little short, and would have liked more time with Bob, Marv, Nadia, and even Detective Torres. There was a lot of intriguing material that could have been developed further, although I didn't feel as if the book ended abruptly or was too short.

I forgot that a movie adaptation of this book is due out later this year. While I try not to read books that close to a movie adaptation (especially one with a little suspense in it), I'm looking forward to seeing how the actors bring to life the characters I've pictured in my head. If you're not planning to see the movie, and you enjoy crime novels, this is one to read. It's a fast read, it's well-written, and most importantly, it's good to have Dennis Lehane back in his element. (Of course, now I want another book, Dennis.)
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on September 11, 2014
I am a huge Dennis Lehane fan and was incredibly excited when this came out. Unfortunately, with each page, i was getting more and more confused with the lackluster, shallow, unpolished piece of crap i was reading. How could this be? Dennis Lehane, who i often rave about and also recommend to anyone who asks, is a stellar author....how could he have written this? I would have sworn that a ghostwriter was hired to write this. Then i realized the origin of the "novel" was a little shady....short story first, a screenplay, then a novel? My theory is that the movie was coming out a week after the books release so the publishing house pushed for an accompanying novel (based on the huge success of lehane books-turned-movies) and either Dennis himself phoned it in or another writer was brought on to flesh out what i am sure was a great short story and should have been left at that. It might even be a great movie as well but it never should have been made into a novel if it wasnt going to receive the care that it should have. Also, anyone who reads this....keep an eye out for the truly tasteless, unnecessary 9/11 "reference" regarding Marv's coat. If you're going to make light of an event like that, it better be a damn good piece of writing.

Very disappointed in Dennis Lehane for allowing this "novel" to be published.
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on September 2, 2014
THE DROP isn't new. It was originally a short story in BOSTON NOIR. It's title was different then: "Animal Rescue." Now it's a movie, and, apparently, someone knew it would sell as a standalone novel movie tie-in. That person is surely correct, but this is one rare novel whose movie is likely better than the book.

"THE DROP" is a more accurate title than is "'Animal Rescue.'" The story has more to do with drops at a bar than it does with the rescue of a puppy from a garbage can. Still, the dog rescue and subsequent care do occur. And any animal lover will like the story for that, alone.

But the story is really about a lonely bartender (who rescues the abused puppy), his boss, a police detective, and the Chechen mafia. Of course, one of the bad guys is the dog's original owner. And no reader can be blamed if she cares more about what will happen to that puppy and the lonely bartender than about what will happen with the rest of the characters.

Dennis Lehane has always been so consistently good that it was safe to preorder his books; no review of the ARC was necessary because you knew you were going to love it. That's not true anymore. Even so, this book did make me anxious to see the movie.

I won this book through goodreads.com.
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VINE VOICEon July 20, 2014
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In "The Drop," Dennis Lehane returns to the Boston area and the setting of his novel, "Mystic River."

The story opens shortly after Christmas where a number of customers gather together to celebrate the life of a missing friend after leaving the bar, Cousin Marv's, ten years ago. The reader is left with the feeling that there will be more to come in this part of the story.'"

Bob Saginowski is the bartender at Cousin Marv's. On his way home, he hears a whimpering sound and finds an abandoned puppy in a garbage can. As he removes the lid of the can to get the dog, a woman comes to her porch and yells at him to get out of her garbage. In this way, Bob meets Nadia. When she learns what Bob was doing, she becomes more friendly.

Bob is a loner who attends daily Mass at St. Dom's but never receives communion. There is some feeling of guilt in his past that leads to this. A police detective who also attends daily Mass wonders what Bob's secret is.

Bob's boss is Cousin Marv. When Marv tells Bob to take down the Christmas ornaments on December 27th, it tells the reader what they need to know about Marv. We also see what a Scrooge he is when he objects to Bob's kindness in allowing a senior citizen to run a never ending tab.

The little we know about Marv is that he was the owner of the bar but it is now owned by a Chechen mobster. It is currently a place where Marv takes bets and the Chechen mob uses it as a drop for their illegal money.

Bob learns that St. Bart's is going to close so it can be used for commercial purposes and the reader can appreciate this as a problem with the Catholic Church. There is less attendance at Mass and an aging group of priests which necessitates the combining of parishes.

I enjoyed Bob as a character. His solitary life reminded me of the character, Marty, in the 1950s movie. The warmhearted butcher in that film seemed like Bob who admits that he didn't have any friends before his relationship with Nadia. I also sympathized with him with his pride at owning a pet who depended on him. When the original owner of the dog decided he wanted the dog back, it created a good feeling of suspense while Bob figured what to do.

Eric Deeds is a character who had been in prison. When he's released, he travels to see the man who was his protector in prison. Eric intends to get some drugs to sell up North. The scene that transpires with Eric at the man's home was powerfully written and visually described.

There are a number of surprises and twists to the story that make the reader unable to foresee where the story will lead.

The setting was well done and I wanted Bob to succeed in whatever he set about to do. However, I would have liked more background on Marv, Nadia and Eric to understand their actions in the story.
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on September 7, 2014
I have been a big time Lehane fan since Mystic River. His historic novel, The Given Day, showed him to be a highly talented writer. The Drop starts slow and never really gets up to speed. It is populated by characters it is hard to give a damn about. In short, it is a million miles from Lehane's best and hardly worth the time investment.
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on September 6, 2014
Years ago, I read and enjoyed Dennis Lehane's short story, "Animal Rescue," in the collection, Boston Noir, about a lonely bartender in a Boston mob bar that finds a beaten puppy thrown in the trash. That story became the basis for the upcoming movie The Drop, adapted by the author himself. So when this book was released, I thought it might've just been the short story collection repackaged for publicity or something. But low and behold, it turned out that the short story was originally part of a nearly-finished novel manuscript! Lehane used the material he developed for the screenplay and now finished the full-length book.

The Drop is a short novel; it's fast and reads very much like a movie, with lots of snappy dialogue and limited scene setting and description. In this way, it might feel less developed than Lehane's other work. But as usual with this writer, the characters stood out to me in this one. Although not as developed as those in Mystic River or The Given Day, I didn't think they were any less well-conceived. I empathized with both main characters Bob and Marv. I really wanted to read more about the cop character of Torres and see the relationship with him and Bob further developed. He was intriguing and I think his character deserves more story. Maybe in another book? The fast pacing and the interesting cast of characters makes this a quick and solid addition to the author's work.
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on September 2, 2014
This story grabbed me from the first page. You know that these are complex characters with back stories that will be revealed slowly but inevitably. Read it in one sitting because I couldn't wait to see exactly how it would turn out. Love each and every one of his books.
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on September 9, 2014
Lehane writes characters. They step (never leap) off the page and offer you a beer, and maybe a cigarette. The plot moves and keeps you interested, but does not take advantage of the predictable and worn. This book is far too short, but it's classic.
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