A Drink Before The War is an exciting and thrilling novel which fuses so many different elements; crime, violence, romance and humour. I read the book really quickly because it was so compelling and found myself laughing out loud at the one-liners.
The main character Patrick Kenzie tells the story in first person narrative. He gets more and more interesting and complex as the book progresses, and the insights into his childhood were fantastic. This book is the start of the Kenzie/Gennaro series, and it really is very promising. I've already read the last in the series - Prayers for Rain, and I can't wait to read the others to see what happens to them in between.
I thought Angie Gennaro, Patrick's PI partner and unrequited (?) love, was fantastic. Other reviews have commented that the sparks between them didn't fly, but I feel the exact opposite. I thought the romance between them was realistic and great. The part near the end where they kiss after the bomb scare was really touching. There was one point where Patrick says 'At that moment, I think I knew what love was', when Angie smiled at him. Perfect :-)
Overall this is a fantastic book which is witty and gritty. From a personal perspective, I was a little disturbed by just how violent it was sometimes. One particular scene where Patrick and Angie listen to someone being tortured on a cassette recording was particularly horrific. On reflection I think the book needed some of this violence to justify the lengths that Patrick and Angie go to later on, and to show the reader how bad the situation in the neighbourhood really was. In other words, the violence was not gratuitous, but I didn't like it either. I would recommend this to those who want to read down-to-earth crime and have a good laugh at the same time.