Hazel R. (Westwood, MA)
Historical Fiction at its Finest
This is a novel that those that typically shy away from violence in books and movies will want to read. In the context of historical fiction, Prohibition did beget gangers, and Dennis Lehane gives us a fully nuanced protagonist, flawed, yet worthy of our time and attention and yes, our hope for peace and redemption. Is justice served? There is some, but is it enough? This book will leave you with some questions to ask your self. It will also leave you with great appreciation for the fine writing that draws you in from the start, and keeps going until the end of the story. Well done!
Linda S. (Tucker, GA)
Dennis Lehane does it again!
I really enjoyed this book from one of my favorite "guilty pleasures" authors. Continuing the family saga that began with "The Given Day," Lehane gives readers a rip-roaring story of love, loss, betrayal, and redemption, featuring violent thugs, hapless immigrants, crooked cops, and good-guy gangsters that will have you pulling for the guys in the black fedoras . Although the story-line pulled me in, it is the excellent writing that kept me turning the pages. As always, Lehane's writing is well-researched and spot-on with vivid descriptions and vibrant characters. I had read the first book in the series but that is not necessary to thoroughly enjoy "Live by Night," and I much prefer this chronicle of America during the Prohibition era to Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series. A wonderfully enjoyable read!
Sharon A. (Tierra Verde, FL)
Lehane Strikes Gold
Lehane does it again! Having read most of his books I wanted to know if his quality was going up or if, like other multiple book authors, the writing lost some of the spark. There is a reason for the publication time span between books, his effort shows in the writing and research. The writing style was smoother, more poetic and he showed us that his research continues to be on target. The characters were very interesting and well developed; you found yourself sympathetic to Joe, the "outlaw/gangster" as he figures out who he really is. Lehane excels in describing locations, the descriptions created pictures in your mind. I can't wait for the movie, already wondering who will play Joe and Graciela.
Jim S. (Austin, TX)
Live by Night
"Joseph" to his police chief father, Joe Coughlin has been a renegade in the Coughlin family since childhood. As he gets older it gets worse and he considers himself an outlaw; everyone else thinks of him as a gangster.
He does have good parts especially after he is "married" to Graciela whose husband lives in Cuba.
The setting is in Tampa, Florida in the 1920s through the 1930s. Prohibition is in full swing with the gangsters including Joe selling bootleg liquor in speakeasies.
Lots of action, love, betrayal. It was a good read by author Dennis Lehane who I really enjoy reading.
Ray P. (Selden, NY)
Classic gangster noir circa the 1920's.
Dennis Lehane is so good at what he does as soon as he releases a new novel it goes directly to the top of my 'read next' pile --- regardless of who else is on that pile.
LIVE BY NIGHT is set in the time of prohibition, bootleggers and gangster's. Young Joe Coughlin is a major disappointment to his father, who happens to be a Police Captain in Boston. When Joe is arrested for his involvement in a criminal act whereby a cop was killed, his father washes his hands of Joe and let's him face his punishment in prison.
It is in prison where Joe comes alive. Teaming up with some well-known crime lords, Joe is able to blaze a path for himself and set up his life outside of prison. Still reeling from the death of his gangster's moll girlfriend and the sudden passing of his father, Joe makes tracks from Boston and heads to Tampa upon release.
It is here where the novel really catches fire. Joe finds himself in Ybor City --- a town of mixed races and an emerging Cuban population --- and he quickly takes on the popular illegal trade of the area --- rum-running. Bouncing between Florida and Cuba, filled with good and bad villains and surprises at every turn makes LIVE BY NIGHT an instant classic. In the hands of Lehane, he raises what could be common noir material to the level of fine literature and creates characters and scenes that you can actually smell and taste. Another hit for Mr. Lehane!
Portia A. (Mount Laurel, NJ)
Evocative of an era
The story, set in the Prohibition Era filled with violence, crime and love, this book is not for someone who craves a cozy read. It is a thriller that is often brutal in execution, but never failed to hold my interest. If you want a book that will keep you reading until the end, this is it!
Steve B. (Spring, TX)
Compelling Prohibition Era Drama
Dennis Lehane has written a fantastic, gripping, keep you on the edge of your seat novel. There are no good guys or good gals in this story; some are just “less bad” than others. The main character, Joe Coughlin, has many appealing characteristics but he is also a ruthless, cold hearted outlaw and admitted gangster. His escapades lead to chilling, exciting drama. I got intensely involved in this book and hated to see it end. This was the first time I have read anything by Dennis Lehane but I definitely plan to read more.