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Mystic River [Paperback]

Dennis Lehane
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (361 customer reviews)

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Paperback CDN $13.36  
Paperback, March 14 2002 --  
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Book Description

March 14 2002

When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car drove up their street. One boy got in the car, two did not, and something terrible happened -- something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever. Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay-demons that urge him to do horrific things.

When Jimmy's daughter is found murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into serious conflict with Jimmy. And then there is Dave, who came home covered in someone else's blood the night Jimmy's daughter died. While Sean attempts to use the law to return peace and order to the neighborhood, Jimmy finds his need for vengeance pushing him ever closer to a moral abyss from which he won't be able to return.

A tense and unnerving psychological thriller, Mystic River is also an epic novel of love, loyalty, faith, and family.


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Product Description

From Amazon

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 --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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing June 3 2005
Format: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: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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4.0 out of 5 stars Drama combined with Mystery June 21 2004
By fra7299
Format: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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5.0 out of 5 stars A river of good writing June 20 2004
By A Customer
Format: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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5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ! June 6 2004
By A Customer
Format: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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Read
Enjoyed the book immensely. Lots of realistic twists and turns concluding with a surprising ending. Would recommend this book to any mystery enthusiasts
Published 5 months ago by DArcy Keast
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspensefully complex
Well written, complex characters, and unexpected ending. Highly recommended for those who enjoy guessing until the end. I plan on watching the movie version to compare.
Published 7 months ago by Avid Reader
3.0 out of 5 stars Much that is good....but ultimately a let down
Lehane is undeniably an able writer, and I did appreciate the overall craft of the book. The story of friendship gone astray is interesting. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Geoffrey Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A superbly written, character-driven story. Rich and meaty, like a scrumptious steak dinner (that's if you're not a vegetarian, of course), Mystic River is the best novel I've read... Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2006 by J.E.L.
2.0 out of 5 stars Eastwood Cries a Better River
I don't often come across a book that I like less than its movie adaptation, but Mystic River happened to be one of those books. Read more
Published on March 3 2005 by Lala Vegas
5.0 out of 5 stars All I can say is WOW!
This is one of my all time favorite books! I hadn't seen the movie, but recognized the name when I picked up the book at a local Barnes and Nobles. Read more
Published on July 16 2004 by Harley's Momma
5.0 out of 5 stars lehane lover
I devoured the Kenzie and Gennaro books in rapid succession after reading Sacred but was hesitant to read Mystic River for some reason. Read more
Published on July 15 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare thing indeed
Not since Jackson McCrae's "The Bark of the Dogwood" have I been so moved and delighted by a book. Read more
Published on June 28 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Read if you haven't seen the movie.....
It's a good book if you haven't already seen the movie because the two are identical. I saw the movie and really enjoyed it so I wanted to read the book for more illustrative... Read more
Published on June 21 2004
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