Mary G. (Purcellville, VA)
Lehane's best work
Live By Night is the rare sequel that is actually better than its predecessor--in this case The Given Day. Not only is this a fascinating look at the Prohibition era, but the characters are utterly intriguing. I was very conflicted about who were the good guys and who were the bad. Lehane says in the book that people are not good or bad, they are just trying to get by. I think that moral flexibility is what sets Lehane's books apart.
Melissa Y. (Knoxville, TN)
What a book! This was my first time reading a book by this author and I will definitely read more. It's seems rare anymore that I become fully immersed in a story and its characters while totally losing track of time. Live by Night was one of those rare books. Its beautifully written with underlying moral dilemmas, complex characters and even a love story thrown in. Live by Night is a fantastic read.
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.
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.
Bill B. (Irvine, CA)
Live by Night never slows down
Has Dennis Lehane started his own genre?
This is truly historical fiction as an action, thriller, family saga.
Set in the Prohibition era in Boston, Tampa, and Cuba, there is plenty of gang warfare, betrayals, revenge, graft, and violence.
Lehane's sharp, crisp writing makes all his settings and characters interesting. You feel like you are there – booing the villains and worrying about our gangster hero.
But this book is essentially about the the action.
The story races along and you can't wait to follow.
Lehane has written another winner. You'll love it. I did.
a compelling story and good character
As noted by some of the other reviewers, the first sentence grabs the reader and the good writing holds the reader to the end. In my opinion, this is not Lehane's best work (I think "The Given Day" was better), but it is an interesting look at organized crime during the Prohibition era. Even more, it is an interesting character study in which the protagonist is a "bad guy" but has many redeeming qualities. It is never adequately explained why he chose a life of crime (most sons rebel against their fathers without going to that extreme), but having done it, he certainly became a multi-faceted criminal, and the reader cheers him on in spite of some pretty fundamental character flaws.
Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)
Another Dennis Lehane winner
I have read many of Dennis Lehane's books and loved this one! His characters are wonderfully drawn, not to mention his interesting chapter titles. If you are a Lehane fan, you will like this one, although I admit to having had a difficult time with "The Given Day". You are drawn in from the first sentence and it doesn't let up. I would recommend this to anyone who loves crime fiction - not too sure that book clubs would like it though.