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3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  1,347 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Boston, 1963. A city on edge. On street corners, newsboys hawk the shocking headline: KENNEDY IS DEAD. In the city’s underworld, a mob war rages. But what terrifies Bostonians most is the mysterious killer who has already claimed a dozen victims, a murderer whose name is indelibly linked to their city: the Boston Strangler. This is the electrifying backdrop of William Land ...more
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Gardners Books (first published January 1st 2007)
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This was writen before Defending Jacob and it is definitely in need of an editor. Spanning more than 400 pages, this crime thriller set in 1960s Boston comes up way short. Part 2 could be skipped entirely without much loss of understanding. The plot goes literally nowhere for 130 pages while the author indulges in ridiculous psychoanalysis of his major characters, the Daley brothers. He spends pages on the nature of a migraine headache, detailing every symptom over and over. Is this supposed to ...more
Ruthanne Davis
Another great book of suspense by William Landay! This was his second novel and had all the essence and grit of Boston in the early '60's when the Boston Strangler carried out his reign of terror by slaughtering 13 women.
But the story revolves around the Daly family. The father, Joe, has bern killed in the line of duty as a policeman. The three grown sons and their mothrr not only mourn his passing but one son suspects foul play was involved in his killing and one son risks his life in order to
Brian Lee
I LOVED Defending Jacob and quickly searched out all novels written by Landay. This book is just not as exciting as Defending Jacob. Landay is compared to another Boston writer, Denis Lehane, and rightly so. Defending Jacob hit all the right notes. There is just something a little flat with The Strangler tho. Never really found myself connecting with any of the three main characters here. Unlike Lehane's Mystic River, where the reader is riveted to the page and can smell the streets of Boston, L ...more
Not perfect but still pretty good. A suspenseful tale of three Boston brothers - one a crooked cop, one a troubled D.A., one a freelance burglar - whose lives are crossed by corruption during the height of the Boston Strangler panic.

Landay lingers too much on the trivial details and glosses over some of the important ones. For instance, one character has the same argument with his mother at least three times, while the suspected Strangler, Albert deSalvo, shows up out of nowhere. However, so mu
Glenda Ricord
Review of “The Strangler” by William Landay:
Mr. Landay has become one of my favorite mystery authors. He’s published 2 books so far with the third one to be released 1/31/12. His first effort was “Mission Flats”. It was terrific and won the Dagger Award for best debut crime novel in 2003.
“The Strangler” is set in Boston in 1963. The country is shaken by the recent assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Boston, in particular, is reeling from a rapist/murderer on the loose. Dubbed by the
I tried to get into this book because it's right up my alley. It's about the Boston Strangler who terrorized Boston in the 60's and the story centers around 3 Irish brothers : a cop, a thief, and a lawyer. That theme of the good brothers and the bad brothers has been done and redone. I know: it could be realistic, and we all know families who have a shining star and a black sheep. But when it feels forced, as this one does, then it doesn't matter whether it could be real, it feels like a stock s ...more
Suspenseful with beautiful writing.
Superb amalgamation of the Boston Strangler killings, JFK's assassination, and the revitalization of Boston in the early 60s. Centering around three Irish brothers, a cop, a burglar, and a lawyer, The Strangler is rife with suspense, drama, and first-rate storytelling.
Since the first book I read by William Landay was "Defending Jacob", I have to say that this book lacks a lot of the finesse of the third novel. His continual belief that Albert DeSalvo wasn't the "real strangler", has of course, now been proven false by DNA testing. Though not all the victims were tested, so perhaps he is right about the earlier wave of murders not being DeSalvo at all.

I enjoyed the narrations about the Daley family and eventually took a liking to them all, especially the mom.
Though this novel does not have the stunning clarity of Defending Jacob, it does serve as the author's warm up book in that genre. Yes, it did need better editing and some trimming; it took me almost 100 pages to be totally into the story. Once engaged, though, it became a real page turner for me. Landay is quite good with the powerful twist at the conclusion of this story, which was of course the big draw in Defending Jacob.
I plan now to go back and read his Mission Flats, his debut novel, whic
After reading Defending Jacob, I looked forward to this book. Perhaps if I had read it first my expectations would have been more reasonable. I found myself, towards the end, just skipping through paragraphs to get to the end. I simply did not care about the story, didn't give a tinkers how it turned out. Not sure why. Certainly, the book was too wordy and sometimes it just seemed to drone on and on. I learned more than I'll ever need to know about migraines. And the violence was over the top. L ...more
I started with Landay's newest novel (Defending Jacob), which was a great listen. It wasn't a book that engrossed me right upfront, but by the time I was just past the middle point, I didn't want to stop listening. As impressed as I was with Defending Jacob, I was more so with The Strangler.

Landay has it down. He writes excellent, intriguing, fully fleshed characters. There's real drama here (as opposed to the melodrama you often find in sub-par mystery/crime novels). He's got a great ear for th
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the early 1960's, I was a young girl growing up in the Boston suburbs. I vividly remember the newspaper headlines regarding The Boston Strangler. Seeing the the author of Defending Jacob, which I loved, had a prior book with the title The Strangler made me get the book immediately. The book, however, is really not about The Boston Strangler. The Strangler merely provides a time and mood setting for the story of the Daley Family and has a small part in their story. That's fine--just saying tha ...more
Murder and mayhem in 1960s Boston.

The story centers on the Daley brothers and how they are each affected by the events of 1963 through mid-1964 and their roles. With Joe Daley, the oldest Daley brother, we see his decline from a shady cop to becoming a crooked cop. Middle brother and lawyer Michael goes from being the weak link in the family to being the one everyone turns to for direction. Ricky, master burglar and youngest of the Daley clan, is the most mysterious of the brothers even at the e
Defending Jacob, Landay's most recent novel, was fantastic. I'm still thinking about it, in fact, still haunted by the creepiness of Jacob and the strength of the storytelling. Walking around in this pleasant book coma, I picked up The Strangler.


It's no Defending Jacob.

Although the book wasn't particularly long (I just finished Anna Karenina, and would have given Tolstoy another 300 pages, easily), it felt looooong. At one point, with NBC's haphazard coverage of the Olympics on the backgro
Beth Farley
For some reason, I was thinking William Landay (Defending Jacob) had a new book out, but when I tried to find it, I found this instead, written before that one. Set in the year I was born, right after JFK was killed, in the middle of the Boston Strangler investigation, yes please! Definitely gritty, and very chilling at times!! My only complaint, there is a certain word used very frequently, was it really in use that much in the early 60's??
Set in Boston during the time that the Boston Strangler was active, the book chronicles the affairs of the Daley family. This touches on the strangler investigation, as lawyer Michael Daly works on the investigation. Brother Joe Daly is a cop. And the other brother, Ricky, is a thief. They all become interested in who the strangler might be, after reporter Amy Ryan, Michael's girlfriend, is strangled. But is her death the work of the Strangler, or is it the work of someone who didn't like the in ...more
set in boston during the time that the boston strangler was active, the book chronicles the affairs of the daley family. this touches on the strangler investigation, as lawyer michael daly works on the investigation. brother joe daly is a cop. and the other brother, ricky, is a thief. they all become interested in who the strangler might be, after reporter amy ryan, michael's girlfriend, is strangled. but is her death the work of the strangler, or is it the work of someone who didn't like the in ...more
After liking this author's Mission Flats, zoning out for most of the audiobook on this one only to be woken up by the ending, then really liking the follow up novel Defending Jacob, I decided to eventually give this another try. The result is no different except I paid attention. The writing and story are still uneven.

The problem starts with the title. Calling it The Strangler implies that it's practically non-fiction, when it's merely the background for a story of three brothers, their family,
too many guys doing stupid, bad things for my taste, but I did like the book overall. I was expecting a twist ending like in Mission Flats so that's what kept me going until the end, but I was a little disappointed not to find one. Much of what happened at the end was guessable throughout. I am excited to read Defending Jacob as I have heard that is the best of his books.
The title of the book would have you believe that it's about the notorious 'Boston Strangler. However, that's not really the case. As with all of Landay's books, this one is about a family. The family in question here is the Daley family, specifically brothers Mikey (an assistant DA), Joe (a cop), and Ricky (a thief). The city of Boston in 1963 - including the Strangler case, JFK's assassination, and the construction of the central artery - serves as a backdrop to this family drama. So, while th ...more
I really enjoyed this book. The Daley brothers are the main characters in this novel and they are well developed characters. Their lives become entangled with The Boston Strangler and the Italian mob which was growing in strength in Boston. The story is disturbing at times but does illustrate the love that brothers have for each other even if they are very different people. The feelings it created were very similar to those I had when I read "Mystic River".

This is the second book I have read by
William Landay has written two books and this is the second. Landay does a decent job of weaving his plot around the mystery of the Boston Strangler, a mystery has never been conclusively solved. However, it left me feeling a bit manipulated and unsatisfied because I knew that he was staying as true to the facts as possible,and thus there could only be implications.
More interesting were the Daley brothers and their personal struggles during this time. The Strangler became a distraction or an irr
I decided to check out earlier titles by Landay after enjoying Defending Jacob very much. Gritty multi-generation Boston police family mystery with undertones of mobsters and good/bad cops, and surprise twists I've come to expect from a Landay novel.
Rob Haug
The Strangler was written before, but published after Defending Jacob, and I can see why. It is not nearly as tight of a read as Defending Jacob is. It seems the book could have been cut by at least 1/3.
That said, it is still not a bad read, and there are things that are quite good about it. First, Landay definitely has an ear for dialogue, and seems to nail the Boston and mob inflections. His scene descriptions are also artful. He may have been in need of a willing editor, but you can't say Wil
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Kalies
I did thoroughly enjoy this book and it had my heart pounding as I neared the end. There were parts that were somewhat predictable, but heavily outweighed by the twists in the plot that I never saw coming. I actually liked this one more than Defending Jacob, and I liked that one very much.
In general I don't care for crime/thriller/suspense novels, and this book exemplified the reason: too much description of gore and violence. It was rather horrifying. Also, some may find the language off-putting. I thought it was in the normal usage of the characters. However, there was a lot of foul language.

That being said, it was an interesting book: the stories of three brothers interwoven with the story of the Boston Strangler. I liked the ending, which always helps my impression of a book
Maybe I'm going to have to stop looking at Goodreads ratings and reader reviews. After excitedly purchasing this book at a used bookstore, I set it on the shelf after seeing the lackluster response on this website. I finally picked it up and devoured it. Why in the world did so many people not like this book? Just because it wasn't "Defending Jacob"? This one reminded me of something Dennis Lehane would write, and I LOVE that guy! I really like the way Landay writes dialogue--especially that of ...more
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William Landay is the author of the New York Times bestseller Defending Jacob. Previous novels include Mission Flats, winner of the Dagger Award for best debut crime novel, and The Strangler, which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of the year.
More about William Landay...
Defending Jacob Mission Flats

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