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Live by Night

by Dennis Lehane

Live by Night
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 416 pages
    May 2013, 416 pages

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There are currently 38 reader reviews for Live by Night
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paula (01/07/15)

not good at all
I had to read this book for class and when I first saw the cover I thought it would be good. I'm the kind of person who likes romance novels so this wasn't very interesting. when I started reading it, it was ok but then after a while I just couldn't get myself to read it. It didn't engage me enough to keep reading. The worst thing is that I had to finish it and write an essay over it. I don't enjoy violence in the books I read so next time I should see what the book is about.
Les G. (Fort Collins, CO) (10/05/12)

Fascinating Story
I have to admit that I started this book expecting another Shutter Island. It's not like that at all. Instead, Live By Night follows a gangster from Boston to Ybor City as his makes a name for himself and becomes more and more powerful. All in all, it's a very good read, just don't expect something action-packed and thrilling.
Mary G. (Purcellville, VA) (09/25/12)

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) (09/09/12)

Fantastic Read!
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.
Cheryl W. (Cassville, MO) (08/27/12)

Live By Night
I have read all of Dennis Lehane's work. This is not one of his best. It had a slow start and an abrupt end. If you have never read his work before this is not the one to start with. I was disappointed.
Lora O. (Antioch, CA) (08/26/12)

Feel the Heat and Taste the Rum
Live By Night follows Any Given Day in the saga of the Coughlin clan, a powerful family with history in Boston police department and some of the characters of the earlier novel make an appearance here. Joe Coughlin is the youngest brother and seeing the corruption around him chooses a less than honorable profession as an outlaw and gangster during prohibition, in the early days of the mafia before World War II. The story moves from Boston to Florida and Cuba, the pace is fast and descriptions extraordinarily vivid. Reading this, I could feel the heat and humidity and feel the smell and taste of rum on my tongue. As one might expect from a book about the mob, there is much killing, gunplay and violence. None of the characters have clean hands or morals that can be admired. I think it’s due to Lehane’s talent as a writer that I really cared about these unlikable people. The world portrayed is a man’s world and there is only one believable and well drawn female character. That said, I couldn’t put it down, and I look forward to Lehane’s next historical novel involving the Couglin clan.

My book club read Any Given Day and enjoyed discussing the historical aspects of the book. Live By Night has less history and doesn’t deal as much with the major political issues of the day, so I don’t think there would be much to discuss as a book club.
Kristine L. (The Woodlands, TX) (08/24/12)

Loving the Bad Guy
I really enjoyed reading this book. Not only did I enjoy the historical time period of Boston during the 1920's but I enjoyed the theme's of family - Father and Son, Good and Evil, and a bit of romance too. I honestly think it is a gift to be able to write a novel about a gangster kid and have the reader actually feel empathy and compassion for the "bad guy". An enjoyable read....Thank you!
Lauren C. (Los Angeles, CA) (08/22/12)

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.
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