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Fine if you want to read a movie instead of a Lehane novel.
on July 9, 2014
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.