Tag: Mystic River

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Posted October 26, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime / 0 Comments

Mystic River by Dennis LehaneTitle: Mystic River (Goodreads)
Author: Dennis Lehane
Published: William Morrow, 2001
Pages: 401
Genres: Crime
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Dave, Sean and Jimmy where childhood friends, but things changed when Dave gets into a stranger’s car and the others don’t. Twenty five years later all three are completely differently people.  Sean is a detective, Jimmy is an ex-convict and Dave is just a shell of a man; never quite recovering from the emotionally scarring events of his past. Their lives come together again when Jimmy’s daughter is found brutally murdered, Dave returns home covered in blood and Sean is put on the case to find who killed Jimmy’s daughter.

Mystic River is a psychological thriller that never really felt right. Not to take anything away from Dennis Lehane; while this is the first book of his that I’ve read I think he has the talent to write dark, noir-ish psychological thrillers but maybe this is a bad example of his ability. The book opens with the childhood and Dave being abducted by the child molester, which while a terrible thing to happen it didn’t feel like Lehane hit the mark with the attempt to be dark and disturbing with this situation. Then the book seemed to drag on and on until the book finally started to pick up pace about half way through.

When it comes to the crime, I found it rather weird that they would assign the case to someone that knows the victim’s father. Sure it was twenty five years ago but to me it still felt like a conflict. Sure I don’t know too much about police procedure but to me that just doesn’t seem right. Overall, this book didn’t feel dark enough, the writer did seem to make it a dark thriller but I felt like it never got there and fell more into the area of predictable. When I read a psychological thriller, I expect a complicated and twisted story and I don’t think I got it here.

The book was entertaining and I’m glad to have read it but it wasn’t something I would recommend anyone else read. I hope Dennis Lehane’s other books are a lot better because while I can see what Mystic River is trying to achieve I think it fell too short. I think the emotions within this novel were too flat and this was the overall problem. I’ve not seen the movie but I wonder if the tension and emotion worked within it since this adaptation was well received.


Book Review: Live By Night

Posted October 2, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime / 0 Comments

Book Review: Live By NightTitle: Live By Night (Goodreads)
Author: Dennis Lehane
Series: Coughlin #2
Published: William Morrow, 2012
Pages: 416
Genres: Crime
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

While Joe Coughlin is the son of a Boston Police Captain, he has long turned his back of being a moral citizen. Joe has graduated into petty crimes to high paying robberies. But when he robs a speakeasy of a Boston mobster things change for him. When the mobster kills Joe’s love, Emma, he becomes obsessed with seeking revenge. Joe works up the ladder of organised crime till he is in the right position to take his revenge. But taking on a rival family is never so simple. This is the basis of Dennis Lehane’s latest crime novel Live by Night.

Most people know I’m a huge fan of pulpish and organised crime novels so I was really interested in checking out this novel. My first attempt of Dennis Lehane with Mystic River didn’t go too well but I was excited to give him another go, simply because the premise of this book sounded really good and the idea of reading a crime novel set in the prohibition era really enthused me. This book started out strong. I really liked Emma the love interestand was very sad to see her get killed off; I was ready to seek revenge too. The revenge aspect and the becoming a powerful mobster were really good but then you get half way through the book and it falls flat. Almost like Dennis Lehane had changed his mind of what type of book this is and switches genre.  Without giving too much away I was disappointed with the change in style and although there are some great crime elements later on it just felt a bit odd.

I loved the characters in this book and this was my biggest worry because with Mystic River I felt they were a bit flat and one dimensional. I think it was interesting to hear that Lehane wrote another book called The Given Day which is based around the same family but focuses on a different character; I believe its Joe Coughlin’s brother. Even if they seem to be connected, Live by Night does a great job of developing the characters without having to read the other book.

I’m a little disappointed that this book had so much potential but the last part of the book fell short. Personally I think this book could have ended a lot earlier or cut out the parts that weren’t working. Lehane was trying to develop the characters a bit more in the sections that weren’t working but in my opinion they didn’t help the novel. There are some great elements in this book and overall it was an enjoyable crime novel. I think I will have to check out The Given Day and some more Dennis Lehane novels based on my experience with this one.


Monthly Review – August 2012

Posted August 31, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As August comes to a close I would love to hear what people’s thoughts were of the monthly book; The Master and Margarita. It’s a classic novel but it was a really bizarre book to read, that stayed with me for a very long time before I could finally write my thoughts on the book. But I tend to enjoy books that stay with me like that; I like books that are thought provoking. Reminder that next month we well be reading another classic for our Southern Gothic theme. While some people argue this book isn’t technically Southern Gothic, I’m sure we will have some interesting discussions on William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. If you’re not aware, this book will be discussed over on the Goodreads forums, so feel free to join in there.

My monthly reading for August has been really great, I went into the month thinking I’ll be busy trying to read all the books I wanted to read, but while I read most of them, I surprised myself by managing seventeen books this months. I’ve read some amazing books including The Dinner, The Angel’s Game and The Age of Miracles. But the highlights for me were Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a satirical look at the war of terror and how we support the troops and The Colour of Milk, an adorable little book about a strong minded girl in 1831 trying to learn to read and write.

August’s Books

  • Mystic River by Dennis Lehane 
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi 
  • This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel 
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell 
  • Thirst by L.A. Larkin 
  • Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen 
  • True Grit by Charles Portis 
  • Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood 
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon 
  • Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin 
  • A Life with Books by Julian Barnes 
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov 
  • The Dinner by Herman Koch 
  • The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón 
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain 
  • The Colour of Milk by Nell Leyshon