Mystic River Mass Market Paperback – Apr 2 2002
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Good book, awesome descriptions and characters' internal dialogues but the final who-done-it at the end lacked creativity: the two boys' reasons for killing the girl seemed a bit... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Ron Laflamme
Love this writer. Never guess the outcome, am looking for more.Published 1 month ago by richard edgar
Quite possibly the best crime fiction novel of all time. Excellent novel. Transcends the genre. Highly recommended.Published 21 months ago by Norburn Shuffle
Enjoyed the book immensely. Lots of realistic twists and turns concluding with a surprising ending. Would recommend this book to any mystery enthusiastsPublished on March 13 2014 by Parkland
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 on Jan. 18 2014 by Avid Reader
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 morePublished on June 10 2013 by Geoffrey Edwards
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 morePublished on Sept. 10 2006 by J.E.L.
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 morePublished on March 3 2005 by Lala Vegas