- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 48 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: September 14, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005MVMHJO
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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A Drink Before the War Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Dennis Lehane is known for his books Mystic River and Shutter Island and his mystery noir series featuring private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro.
I was excited to read this series because I recently visited Boston for the first time and loved it. But these books definitely show a side of Boston I did NOT see.
A cleaning lady has stolen some important documents from politicians who hire Kenzie and Gennaro to find her and retrieve the goods. They do find her, but come to realize the stolen “documents” are much more than the politicians first claimed. Suddenly the reader is thrust into a story about race relations, gang violence, and child abuse.
Obviously I can’t tell you much more than that. The novel is a mystery, after all, and I wouldn’t want to give anything away. But if you’re curious about these books, I can tell you that they are easy reads, but do make you think. The characters have a lot of depth; the main character in particular is full of snark and sarcasm as well as dealing with terrible daddy-issues and unreciprocated love.
The stories can be very dark and deal with upsetting issues. There are a couple scenes depicting child abuse that are quite graphic. The main character watches a woman he was trying to protect die in front of him.
Even with these subjects, I still recommend these books to anybody who loves a good mystery. Bonus if you’ve ever been to Boston!
I gave it a chance and was glad I did. Yes the two characters, though not together in this book are destined to be a couple but this is NOT a romantic comedy or "chick-lit". It IS Dennis LeHane, dirty, grimy, real. Good stuff and I will keep reading this series.
I love characterization in books, and Mystic River has it in spades. At least a half-dozen characters are so well defined that now, having read the book, I feel I almost know them and how they'd reaction to happy, sad and tragic events. Most authors can't paint more than a character or two that clearly.
Long passages about the atmosphere -- in this case, a rough neighborhood in a tough city -- usually leave me cold. Lehane knows how to draw a vivid picture without falling in love with his pen. I came away feeling like I'd visited the Flats.
I don't know if there's a sequel, but if there is I'll read it. No spoilers here, suffice it to say I'd be interested in any of several story lines that could be further explored. That's not to say the story's not complete though. I hate a mystery that doesn't have a proper ending. The resolution here is logical, unpredicted (by me, anyway), true to what came before, and satisfying.
I've not seen the movie based on this book. The images in my head are already so rich I don't think I'll watch the flick.
As far as the Kindle conversion itself, there are no complaints whatsoever. It probably benefits from being a more recent book, so the source files could be used to produce the Kindle version rather than oft-error prone OCR mechanism. That or it actually got an editing/proofreading pass (!?!). Full credit on the Kindle version. It gets the ultimate compliment: I forgot I was reading it on a Kindle and just enjoyed the story.
But boys will be boys, and one day while scrapping in the street they are accosted by plain clothes detectives in an unmarked car who order them into the back seat for the perfunctory "scare `em good and call their parents" routine. Here we see the defining moment of their personalities. The pliant and thoroughly frightened Dave follows orders, but Jimmy and Sean could not help but notice that Boston's finest were looking a bit seedy that morning. Why, the back seat was littered with trash, for gosh sakes. It was as if the cops sized up the other two and vice versa, and both groups backed off with Dave alone in the back seat. Only later do Jimmy and Sean realize that they had let their erstwhile sidekick ride off into the unknown with hardened pedophiles. Dave would return four days later, to forever bear the invisible brand of damaged goods on his psyche.
Turn the clock ahead twenty five years, to a time when Pedro pitched every fifth day and Nomar anchored the Sox infield. The boys were now grizzled men. Dave had somehow married and survived his ordeal, on the surface at least. But he is not doing well professionally, and one senses that deep inside he carries the mark of Cain and the energy for a terrible day of reckoning. Sean had worked his way to detective rank on the Boston police force. Jimmy, not surprisingly, had taken the more sinister route. By the age of eighteen he was the acknowledged crime captain of his neighborhood, a poor man's Godfather. Married with an infant child, he had been pinched by the cops, kept his mouth shut, done the dime, and returned to his neighborhood in higher esteem than ever.
But now he wanted out of that business. His beloved wife had died, leaving him sole parent of a young girl who did not know him. Jimmy opened a legitimate concern and invested himself over the years in making a life for his beloved daughter, Katie. She had indeed grown into a fine young eighteen year old woman with enough of her father's spunk to occasionally do something stupid, like drink with her friends in a less than reputable neighborhood. It was on such an outing, the night before her niece's First Communion, that Katie's life would come to its tragic demise.
This grisly murder sparks a parallel investigation. Sean, of course, seeks the perpetrator as a matter of course. This, after all, is his life's avocation. The fact that the victim is the daughter of his old chum adds an emotional element, but Sean is all business. He is relentless, but he works in the civilized world of due process. His investigation is slow, painstaking, thorough, and in the context of what follows, not fast enough. He has a suspect in mind, but he works slowly and prudently enough that in case he is wrong, no harm and no foul.
Jimmy, alas, has no such encumbrances. He too seeks his daughter's killer. Coming out of retirement, so to speak, he has no worries about district attorneys and tainted evidence. Jimmy has a suspect in his sights, too. But even with his freedom of movement, he is having as much difficulty as Sean is until he receives damning information from about as unsuspecting an informant as one can imagine. In a scene worthy of a Hitchcock film, Jimmy hears what he wants to hear from a witness whose meaning is entirely misconstrued. Thus fortified, he becomes judge, jury, and executioner.
In the final tally, both Sean and Jimmy are wrong in their conclusions, though Sean has done nothing that can't be fixed. Jimmy, on the other hand, is responsible for multiple deaths, if one includes the psychological disarray of his informant. We say good bye to the neighborhood of Jimmy, Dave and Sean with the sense that Jimmy is dead, too. Dead to the years of decency when his Katie saved him from his worst criminal self. Jimmy, it is clear, bears no remorse. The worst may be yet to come.