Rated of 5
by Lauren C. (Los Angeles, CA) All Historical Fiction, Not a Thriller
I have read other books by Dennis Lehane and have enjoyed them very much, but those have been his modern day detective stories. I knew that this book was going to take place during Prohibition, and assumed that Lehane would find a way to do the same sort of thriller in a different backdrop.
Instead this was a pretty standard run-of-the-mill "my adventures as a gangster" story. It has the 1920s setting-- Prohibition, racial tensions in Boston and elsewhere, Ku Klux Klan, anarchists. However, it is a story that you've read and seen lots of times before, and it lacks any of the edginess that you might see on "Boardwalk Empire" or read/see in the "Godfather".
Lehane knows how to write so it wasn't a difficult read, but I'll be sticking to his modern day crime stories from now on. While I do read historical novels from time to time, I prefer ones that have a unique twist or are a bit edgier. If you like historical noves in general you would probably enjoy this more than I did.
Rated of 5
by Patricia D. (Woodland Hills, CA) Living through Prohibition
Dennis Lehane is a magician of history, bringing the past alive and allowing readers to relive prominent events. Live By Night focuses on the 1920s and 1930s, the rum runners, the gangsters, police and government corruption, and some wonderful characters. The main story deals with Joe Coughlin surviving through these roaring 20s. His toughness allows him to survive a horrible time in jail, but coming out to become one of the wealthiest heads of rum running from the Gulf states and up the Atlantic coast. Living in this era the competition was dangerous, devious, and all-around cutthroat. Joe's story makes this book a page-turner with this reader asking for more of the same type of story from Lehane. An excellent book sure to be a best seller.
Rated of 5
by Joan C. (Warwick, RI) Life By Night
How does the son of the Boston Chief of Police turn out to be a gangster? As Dennis LeHane tells us, it turns out to be a very interesting story featuring a very interesting man. It's easy for the reader to slide into the prohibition era with all its drama and strife. You get a first-hand look at the period's sobering reality. LeHane astutely balances the raw violence the era with the humanness of his characters. This book is too good to miss.
Rated of 5
by Elizabeth M. (Syracuse, New York) Southern Gangster
Because of the settings of author Dennis Lehane's other books, I anticipated that this story about prohibition era gangsters would center around Boston. The story did start there but then quickly moved south when the main character, Joe Coughlin, is sent to Tampa, Florida to take over the liquor business there. Most of the other books I have read about prohibition era gangsters took place in cities, so it was really interesting to see how the usual gangster problems intermixed with issues of race, such as dealing with the KKK, and with the vibrant population of Cuban nationalists. I really enjoyed following Joe Coughlin's story to see how his morals were shaped by the positions he found himself in and how these morals were shaped by the philanthropic leanings of a woman he meets named Graciela and how these morals clashed with the stricter religious leanings of Tampa's police chief. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction of the prohibition era as well as anyone who is interested in considering how you arrive a definition of right and wrong. As a side note, I read this in the summer, but as a native of upstate New York, I can imagine that if I had read Lehane's descriptions of the pre-air conditioning humidity in Tampa during a long, cold winter, this book would have been even more appreciated.
Rated of 5
by Judi C. (QUARTZSITE, AZ) Smooth, gritty, vivid!
This is a solid read taking you to 1926 prohibition era Boston, Ybor City/Tampa and even Cuba over an eleven year period.
It follows the outlaw life of the charismatic Joe Coughlin, a smart kid who early on gets undone by a femme fatale.
I recommend Live by Night to anyone who likes to be transported to another time and place.
Rated of 5
by Viqui G. (State College, PA) Live By Night
I never expected to like a book about unscrupulous and violent gangsters. However, I have to admit this story was so well written and the characters were so fleshed out and believable that I enjoyed the novel very much. It was a real page-turner. Joe, the main character of this novel, was an entirely likeable guy who happened to be a gangster or as he liked to think of himself, an outlaw. Although I do not agree with Joe's way of life and his methods of "making a living", Dennis Lehane's talent for writing created a protagonist that is hard not to root for. I think that anyone that enjoys good writing and an interesting plot would enjoy this book. I am certainly going to be checking out other Lehane novels after reading this one.
Amazon cuts off 5200 affiliates in Minnesota(Jun 19 2013) With Minnesota's online sales tax law due to take effect July 1, Amazon has played a familiar card by cutting ties with 5,200 members of its Associates...