Dennis Lehane's Mystic River
takes the material of the ordinary police procedural thriller and shapes it into heart-break. As boys, Jimmy, Dave and Sean were friends, until one day Dave was abducted by two men pretending to be cops, and was never quite the same again. As men, Dave is a damaged fantasist, safe in a quietly happy marriage; Jimmy a retired criminal making a good respectable living for the sake of his children; and Sean is the homicide cop who finds himself investigating the murder of Jimmy's eldest daughter Katie. This is not just a book about what becomes of the children who grow into adults; it is about what happens to a neighbourhood when the rules change, when an old established working-class district acquires gentrified espresso bars at one end and the beats of the city's most dangerous whores at the other. It is also a book about the tragedy of all sudden violent deaths; we never forget our sense of Katie as she was, dancing on the last night of her life--she is never just the corpse here, never just the object of mourning and investigation. --Roz Kaveney
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From Publishers Weekly
Lehane ventures beyond his acclaimed private eye series with this emotionally wrenching crime drama about the effects of a savage killing on a tightly knit, blue-collar Boston neighborhood. Written with a sensitivity toward character that exceeds his previous efforts, the story tracks the friendship of three boys from a defining moment in their childhood, when 11-year-old Dave Boyle was abducted off the streets of East Buckingham and sexually molested by two men before managing to escape. Boyle, Jimmy Marcus and Sean Devine grow apart as the years pass, but a quarter century later they are thrust back together when Marcus's 19-year-old daughter, Katie, is murdered in a local park. Marcus, a reformed master thief turned family man, goes through a period of intense grief, followed by a thirst for revenge. Devine, now a homicide cop assigned to the murder, tries to control his old friend while working to make sense of the baffling case, which involves turning over the past as much as it does sifting through new evidence. In time, Devine begins to suspect Boyle, a man of many ghoulish secrets who has led a double life ever since the molestation. Lehane's story slams the reader with uncomfortable images, a beautifully rendered setting and an unnerving finale. With his sixth novel, the author has replaced the graphic descriptions of crime and violence found in his Patrick Kenzie-Angela Gennaro series (Prayers for Rain; Gone, Baby, Gone) with a more pensive, inward view of life's dark corners. It's a change that garners his themesAregret over life choices, the psychological imprints of childhood, personal and professional compromiseAa richer context and his characters a deeper exploration. Agent, Ann Rittenberg. (Feb. 6) Forecast: Given the excitement in-house at Morrow that this is Lehane's breakthrough book, and the promotion they're placing behind it, it stands an excellent chance of leaping straight onto the bestseller lists. A one-day laydown, $250,000 ad-promo and an 11-city author tour, plus a blurb from Michael Connelly designating Lehane as "the heir apparent," should provide the groundwork for explosive sales. Rights have been sold in the U.K., France and Germany, and there will be a large-print edition as well as an audio from Harper Audio.
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