Audiobook Review: Live by Night, by Dennis Lehane

I have long been a fan of Lehane and his ability to craft well-written, enticing mysteries that embody their settings and bring to life deep, seemingly real characters. It's an art form, and one under-appreciated in a world of thrillers and Patterson mysteries. Live by Night is no exception to the rule of great reading that Lehane has created with his work. Lehane introduces us to Joe Coughlin in 1926 Boston, and then follows this shady but not altogether evil character up nearly every rung of the ladder of organized crime, from lackey to jailbird to crime boss in Florida to fugitive in Cuba. The story is expansive, taking on a world of gangsters and prohibition, drugs and alcohol, sex and romance with a noir flair I've yet to encounter outside of Hollywood (I've also never read The Godfather, so bear with me).

Tight storytelling and well-crafted (if not always well-intentioned) characters make appearances at every stage of Coughlin's adventures, keeping this story moving along at a clipped, steady pace. Live by Night boasts impressive writing and an almost unbelievably simply transportback to a particular time and place, and a stellar narrator on the audio edition, but unfortunately is never quite as gripping as it feels it could have been. Coughlin is likeable but not entirely loveable; Coughlin's world is understandable but not entirely relatable; Coughlin's story is enjoyable but never truly engrossing. That said, however, a less-favorite Lehane novel is still a Lehane novel, and thereby excellent in its own right. I look forward to the next in Lehane's planned Coughlin family trilogy (of which The Given Day was, apparently, the first book).

Oh, and this may also hit the big screen with some Ben Affleck involvement. Get into it.


Thoughts from other bookworms:
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
Book Riot: Buy, Borrow, Bypass
Beth Fish Reads


You might also like:
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
Phantom by Jo Nesbo
North River by Pete Hamill


Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing a digital audio copy of this title to review.
Live by Night | Dennis Lehane | HarperAudio | October 2012 | Buy from an independent near you

1 comment

  1. I really love Lehane's writing style. I just finished Moonlight Mile, but I hadn't heard of this one yet. Another book for the TBR list!


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