Hill Climb Racing 2 Check out Santa's new ride Beauty Best Books of the Year Black Friday Deals Week nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch For a limited time. 3 months for $0.99. Amazon Music Unlimited. New subscribers only. Terms and conditions apply. STEM $24.99 for a limited time only Try it first with samples Handmade Gift Shop Home and Garden Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon Black Friday deals: save 40% or more on Amazon Video Black Friday deals: save 40% or more on Amazon Video Black Friday deals: save 40% or more on Amazon Video  Echo Plus  Black Friday Deals Week: Fire tablets starting at $29.99. Limited-time offer. $30 off Kindle Paperwhite Shop now HTL17_gno

on December 16, 2014
I enjoy Lehane's writing and this book hooked me by the end of the first page - nothing like having one's feet in concrete and to be on one's way out into the center of the bay on a one way trip to focus one's view on mortality. The only regret I had was that the story ended. I know Ybor City as there is a certain restaurant there [the Columbia] where I have gone for Cuban food for many years. Lehane captures a time and the context of life in this place and Florida, a place far too many people associate with little old ladies with blue rise in their hair and Disney World with a dash of South Beach tossed in to season. Tamp/St Pete is a different place than that and has a history which is a great background for the events in this novel. Lehane did a good job capturing this world although I am sure there are those who would disagree with me.

Others will no doubt write about plot specifics. I will not because I do not want to spoil the read for people who buy the book. I do agree with those who compare if to the Godfather book. There are some differences because Coughlin is obviously not Italian and his father is a cop. But Lahane develops a great story based on Coughlin's life starting as a petty criminal and going on from there.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 30, 2014
I have read and enjoyed later works by LeHane such as Mystic River. I had avoided this series because it seemed to me that it was dredging the romantic "dramedy" territory being that it was about a couple who were PIs. I have no desire to read, nor watch "Moonlighting, Bones, or any other of a dozen which are firmly entrenched in that genre.

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.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 17, 2012
I had read this book first, about ten years ago. Then I saw the film. As my reviews of both bear out, I thought they were remarkable and powerful. Then, this past spring, I was asked to teach a course on film adaptations from novels. This book, naturally, appeared on my syllabus. So, I had to reread it. I was, once again, taken in by Dennis Lehane's writing. I always am.

My class was quick to point out an unexplained problem with the solution to the crime. I won't mention it here, obviously, because it would spoil things. Anyway, the "problem" only occurred in hindsight: after we had discussed the book extensively. It occurred to me only after the rereading. In any event, I won't go into the details of the story or the characters. Those strengths have been mentioned by others here. I just want to make some comments on other reviewers--not Amazon reviewers, but professional book critics.

The book has been called anti-youth. It isn't, although the young people do exhibit some not very admirable characteristics. I read a review that said the book has racist elements. It doesn't: some characters do, but not the book. The book has been termed sexist. I don't know why; the men are portrayed as negatively as some of the women. The book has been called misanthropic.


Maybe the novel is not "misanthropic" in the classic definition. But Lehane certainly has difficulties finding anything redeemable in most human beings. His theorem about life, as I paraphrase a major character, Sean Devine, is that we are all born self-centered children, who become child-adults, who die after we have raised more child-adults. And then "The dead stay dead," he says. But the damage they did to--or was done to them by--other humans and by life, both linger but, then, are forgotten. Dave expresses his feelings of being alone, alien, forgotten.

This is a bleak enough view of life, enough to make you wish you were never born. And yet, Lehane makes you read on. The story pulls you along, but so does the painful beauty of the writing. When you put the book down, when you are done, I think you will exhale deeply, almost as if you had been punched in the gut with a very sad truth. When was the last time a book did that to you?
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 11, 2017
It sure was a pleasure to read another Lehane novel. As always, there was a great plot, but it was the way Lehane made the characters come to life that made the novel great. You know the story has captured you when you feel both happy and sad with the characters as the story unfolds. It was interesting to see the struggle that the unlawful make to find happiness and their own morality in a life dedicated to greed and preying on those weaker. Can good come from bad and bad come from good? Who judges?
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 8, 2014
In the fifties people thought it was safe to let their children run wild in their neighborhoods but for three boys, one incident -- that started innocently enough -- will forever change their lives. The story opens with the three horsing around on a neighborhood street, when 'supposed' cops pull over. Almost before they know it, the most vulnerable child, Dave, is abducted by child molesters. The fact that he is taken scares and places the burden of guilt on the other two, who don't really understand why Dave was taken and not them. Four days later, Dave escapes and is returned to his mother but he returns emotionally shocked. And no surprise, the neighborhood children take it out on him.

Years later, the three men meet once again. Sean is now a cop; Dave is married to a woman with a five-year old child; and Jimmy, an ex-con, owns his own convenience store. They intersect when Jimmy's daughter disappears and is found brutally murdered on the same night that Dave comes home to his wife, covered in blood and claiming that he may have killed a man that tried to mug him. Guilt, revenge and murder create an explosive situation that threatens to destroy not only all three men but the neighborhood and their friends.

This is a brutal, stark but compelling story. While parts are hard to read, you will find that you can't put it down.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 2, 2013
Cataloguing Dennis Lehane as a "mystery writer" is, to me, sort of like classifying LeBron James as just a basketball player. Yes, Lehane writes books that have a mystery/thriller component to them, but, just as James's ability now defines the game of basketball, Lehane's ability goes far beyond a genre also. I would challenge all readers to undertake any of today's top names in the field (Patterson, Baldacci, Grisham...) and read their top works side by side with Lehane's and I'd wager that a marked literary difference would be not only immediately noticeable, but profound. The intriguing difference with Lehane, it seems to me, is that he encompasses the whole human experience with his novels. The characters have voice, depth and a priority in his works that the others in this genre clearly lack. And once he's firmly established these characters, the story then flows easily and with a believability uncommon in those others.

"Mystic River", although a little dated now (2001), is a classic example of this. Bypassing the well established pattern of other mystery/thriller works, Lehane, instead of immediately grabbing the reader with his storyline, slowly but efficiently introduces us to the people and environment. Centering essentially around three main characters, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus and Dave Boyle, we watch as our protagonists are developed before the first major "event" of the story ever ensues. Following them into adulthood, Lehane is brilliant with introducing and developing subordinate characters.

As kids, Dave, essentially the "weakest" of the three, is lured into what they all think is a police car when they are all out arguing in the street in their suburban Boston neighborhood. The car isn't a police car, of course, and Dave is actually abducted by pedophiles and suffers four days of brutality before escaping. Fast forwarding to the present day, all of them are adults with wives and families and we're witness now to a violent crime where Jimmy's daughter is brutally murdered. Sean, a State Trooper, is brought in to help solve the crime and the story is carried forward here in a nuanced three-pronged attack...Jimmy, not surprisingly an ex-con now, slowly builds a revenge response as his grief grows; Sean's duty is overlayed with his past while Dave's demons surface as he still battles the effects of that terrible four days.

What truly makes this novel stand out, however, is Lehane's ability to have the characters grow while the plot unfolds. Brilliant dialogue, believable outcomes, all cast in an environment of low-middle class Boston is a clear tone and backdrop throughout this work. Never is there any scene or conversation that deviates from this firmly established basis and Lehane carries all of these subplots to an almost obvious conclusion.

Again, having this work characterized as a "mystery/thriller" is only touching the surface. Dennis Lehane provides the reader with a true moral drama here and this book branches out into so many other literary fields that are masterfully grasped that it really should be undertaken by anyone who enjoys great writing. Please, do not judge this on category alone...this is a consummate literary experience and should be enjoyed by all. Highest recommendation.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 5, 2014
Lehane's writing is stellar as he has shown time and time again. Also as usual, his tale is gritty. Unlike other of his books however, in 'A Drink Before the War,' there were no surprises. With consummate skill, Lehane drew me into the ugly world of this story until I was completely engaged in reading - Indeed, so much so, that I have strong feelings about it and am challenged by reviewing it. The injustices (racial, abuses of power and wealth, infidelity, sordid victimizations, extortions and more) are rampant throughout, and Mackenzie and Gennaro (Lehane's central figures and private investigators, key in other of his books) prevail in a morass of dirty politics and gang warfare. My personal dilemma is that I'm troubled when a book (or film) causes me to accept - even root for - things that I know are wrong. I found myself rooting for vigilante justice as this book progressed. I can't hold Lehane responsible for that - It's another testament to his skill as an author. I even considered lowering this rating because of the feelings he elicited, but that would have been wrong - It's fiction... and I chose to read it. The man can write!!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 5, 2012
For some reason I have never read this classic up to now, but I am glad that I rectified that oversight. This book is a classic at all levels. Lehane is a marvelous author, great character creator, tight plot developer and he uses lots of tension and makes us as readers look at things from a number of different angles as we read his story. He involves the reader in a way that is not that common, especially with thriller writers. This book set in and around the mythical Mystic River is more than a thriller. There is human compassion, tenderness, familial loyalties and a whole host of other emotions depicted in the book. The book is about three boys who grew up together on the "wrong side of the tracks", and then something horrible happens to one of them, but the incident forever changes and shapes the lives of all three boys, not just the small eleven year old victim. We advance 25 years to when all three boys have grown up and have families and have made lives for themselves. And then another horrible event happens to one of them. It forces all three to run the whole gamit of emotions as they each try to deal with this new tragedy. Lehane depicts in a compelling way, how we never get over or forget our past. The past will continue to come up to haunt us as we move through life. He also shows us in an unforgetable way how the sins of fathers (and mothers) affect their children and the effect they have as the children grow into adulthood. A sad, poignant and unforgetable story about life, love, loss, sin and all the consequences from human foibles.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 12, 2013
Incredibly wordy, even for a character study of three interesting youths who grow into their late 30s. At least a hundred pages could be removed by deleting all mention of one character's marriage and its problems. Drop the needless dream sequences, and the remaining text of 400 pages would be engrossing and compelling -- and a much better read..
11 comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 29, 2013
I chose this book because of the reviews and the preview. They did not disappoint me. The writting is quick in wit and delivery. The idea that the entire plot spans 8 days is the exhausting part. The story develops so quickly that I was unable to put it down. I resented having to sleep. The book is violent. Drugs and gangs and private eye stories always are. This one did have some moral redemption. The bad guys got what they deserve. The good guys got to tell you why they were so jaded and none of it was pretty. The relationship between Patrick and Angie started out as friends at least on one side. The back stories of child abuse for Patrick and how it compells him to act beyond his contract was really gutsy. The relationship between Marion and Roland is degenerate and sad. Boston's crooked cops and irish mafia and politics are always good fodder for a story.This was my first Lahane book. I'll be back for more but I will have to take it in limited doses. Too much of a bad thing is not always good. If the author intent was to show the worst of the worst. He did an exellent job.The content was too much for me so I gave it a 4 star rather than the 5 that it has gotten from so many readers who enjoy this genre.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse