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Mystic River Mass Market Paperback – Apr 2 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 363 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, Apr 2 2002
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reissue edition (April 2 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380731851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380731855
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 318 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 363 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #397,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Ever since blasting onto the literary scene with the Shamus Award-winning A Drink Before the War, Dennis Lehane has been the golden boy of noir. His Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro novels are marvels of tight pacing, dialogue so good it gets under your skin and stays there, with dead-on portrayals of working-class Boston neighborhoods. Sure, he's the oft-proclaimed, hard-boiled heir to Hammett and Chandler, but Lehane also takes a page from the Hemingway school of hyper-intense writing. He pares away and pares away until he's left with the absolute essentials--and then those essentials just explode off the page.

In his five Kenzie-Gennaro novels, the detective duo is at the nexus of Lehane's big bang. Darkly funny and just this side of jaded, Angie and Patrick move through Dorchester's bleak streets with an assurance born of familiarity. It's impossible to imagine these streets without the pair, or to imagine the pair away from those streets. Mystic River, then, arrives as a bit of a gamble, as Lehane moves from the sharp edges of portraiture to the broader strokes of landscape. No Angie, no Patrick: this neighborhood is on its own. It's not any prettier and certainly no friendlier, and its working-class façade still barely masks the irresistible tug of violent ways, means, and ends.

Twenty-five years ago, Dave Boyle got into a car. When he came back four days later, he was different in a way that destroyed his friendship with Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus. Now Sean's a cop, Jimmy's a store owner with a prison record and mob connections, and Dave's trying hard to keep his demons safely submerged. When Jimmy's daughter Katie is found murdered, each of the men must confront a past that none is eager to acknowledge. Lehane tugs delicately on the strands that weave this neighborhood together, testing for their strengths and weaknesses; this novel seems as much anthropological case study as thriller.

By turns violent and pensive, Mystic River is vintage Lehane. How good is it? You may go in missing Angie and Patrick, but after a few pages you won't even realize they're gone. Lehane's noir is still black magic. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
WHEN SEAN DEVINE and Jimmy Marcus were kids, their fathers worked together at the Coleman Candy plant and carried the stench of warm chocolate back home with them. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book to be just amazimg. There is so much going on this book as well as the characters are three dimensional not one dimensional. In addition to being mystery, it is an exploration of friendships past and human nature. At the beginning of the book we are presented with Jimmy, Sean, and Dave and with the one event that changed everything in their lives and friendship. Later on in the book, with Jimmy's daughters death, the author explores how they three will interact. This is a gripping book and it never lets. All through the book, we come back to that one event that changed their lives forever.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I resisted reading Mystic River because I had not seen the movie - but I am delighted that I did. It is a first rate page-turner with rich details (scenes, characters, connections -- life, etc.) that a movie can only hint exists. I still have not seen the movie, but it is definitely on my "to see" list.
The book's slow beginning paid huge dividends in character and relationship developments that provide significant plot interaction and clues. The book began with a traumatic event that happened when the three main characters were eleven. Mystic River captures the times and innocence of youth very well.
Lehane tosses in clues to the killer like grape tomatoes in a spinach salad. They are subtle, psychological, but evident when you reflect. I did figure out the multiple killers, but it did not make the book any less enjoyable.
I saw clips of Sean Penn in various previews and easily understand what a commanding performance he gave. In this book, Jimmy, his character is powerful, thoughtful, intelligent, and it is easy to feel his pain, sadness, or sense of humor.
Filled with great descriptions, charged with emotions, and an excellent way to spend time - this book has it all. It is a five star book.
Victoria Tarrani
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lehane's "Mystic River" is quite unique in that it is an intelligent thriller that knows how to build its characters and story. Unlike some of others who read the book, I couldn't readily identify Kate's killer, suspicion and mystery swaying back and forth throughout the novel as pieces began to be revealed (but then again, maybe I'm a bit dense). While it was a decent book in terms of its characters, structure, and its basic themes, there was something about the ending that seemed rushed. At the same time, I felt like it was the second half of the story that gave it it's strength, mainly because the story's incongruities begin to come into focus and the complexity of the characters is revealed. While the book was strong at most points, the "language" got a little tiresome and seemed to diminish what was a complex and well-written drama and mystery.
The one thing I can say about Dennis Lehane is that he knows how to create characters. Unlike the characters in many "bestsellers", these characters are not cardboard and have more than one dimension to them. He builds characters mainly through the thoughts and interactions of other, minor characters. We learn much about what kind of person Dave is from the thoughts and feelings of his wife, for example. The mere fact that she is uncertain exactly if he is guilty or not in the murder of Jimmy's daughter depicts the mysteriousness surrounding Dave and that decision he made long ago to get in the car. Lehane also did a great job characterizing Jimmy Marcus. Jimmy comes across as a man who lives in both good and evil; he has a mental toughness to problems and conflict, but it can be rattled when his problems become too personal.
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By A Customer on June 20 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one well-crafted piece of ficiton. Easy to read without talking down to you, and intelligently constructed, you can't fail with this great work of fiction. All of the characters in MYSTIC RIVER are extremely complex and quite fully realized. The most complex are Jimmy and Dave, but Sean has his complications, too, as do the wives of these haunted men. Dave, especially, is haunted. He can't communicate, not even with himself. He can't function in day to day life. He's a shell of a man who is carrying around more than that shell can hold. Something has to give and when it does, it is more tragic than we could have ever expected. In the Boston area, Jimmy Marcus, Dave Boyle, and Sean Devine are best friends, playing together like preadolescents do everywhere. Their friendship and perhaps childhood ends when eleven-year old Dave enters the car of two strangers claiming to be cops, who sexually molest him. When he escapes and finally returns home he is not the same carefree child. This is a fantastic book, full of twists and turns at every corner. Would also recommend another great read, though it is totally different in theme and execution: THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. It's funny, disturbing, and ultimately uplifting. Great fun.
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By A Customer on June 6 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The storyline in the film is faithful to the one in the book. However LeHane gives us some time to get to know the characters of Jimmy, Sean and Dave before the big event that sets up the rest of the story occurs. The event is the kidnapping and rape of Dave when he is 12 years old. That event, of course, permanently scars Dave and becomes the secret that all of the characters can't face. The book then takes us to present day Boston where Dave is now unemployed, yet has a wife and son, Jimmy runs a convenience store, is married with kids and has a criminal record and Sean is a state policeman. All of them have drifted apart of course, yet they are brought back together when Jimmy's daughter Katie is murdered. That points the three of them toward that all consuming darkness that threatens to drag them down.
The book is generally labeled as suspense. Yet it is actually more of a serious dramatic novel than a suspense one. There are scenes of investigations, of planning revenge, of trying to figure out who exactly the killer is. Yet when the truth is revealed, the killer's identity has become an almost trivial point. The point that LeHane is trying to make here is two-fold: 1. Most obviously that when scarred as a child you never fully recover and 2 the past can come back to haunt you.
We see that Dave is a man who will (understandably) never totally shake what happened on that day and in a way it has sucked the life out of him, much like the vampire he references later in the book. Jimmy is an inherently decent man who realizes that he is best at doing bad things. He has a criminal past that he's managed to escape from. Yet the events of the story pull him back towards it. Only Sean stands a chance of escaping this vicious cycle and even he has problems.
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