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A Drink Before the War
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A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  18,779 ratings  ·  1,132 reviews
Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro know their home, rough neighborhoods of South Boston. Their first PI job seems simple - find Jenna, a black cleaner, and confidential state documents she stole. Extortion, assassination, and child prostitution extend from the ghetto to the government. The worst atrocities are closest to home, and committed in the name of love.
Paperback, 334 pages
Published 1995 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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My very first Dennis Lehane…and I LOVED every gorgeous, kick-ass, page-turning word of it.

I loved the writing...which paired genre grit and humor with a polished, emotive literary quality that you don’t often see in detective novels.

I loved the plot...which had a duo of private detectives trying to locate some “incriminating” documents for a group of political mucky mucks, and ending up mired in a conspiracy of dark family secrets, gang warfare, racial tensions and the U.S. Senate.

I loved the to...more

Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are offered big bucks to find a cleaning woman who made off with some confidential documents. It sounds like a simple case, but there’s a lot more to those documents than just state secrets.

Kenzie and Gennaro both grew up in blue-collar Dorchester and even though they’re tough, dealing with sleazy politicians and dangerous gangs takes all their energy, resolve and determination.

The detectives have their own issues to deal with too. An...more
Before he wrote Mystic River, Shutter Island or was part of the crime novelist dream team that worked with David Simon on The Wire, Dennis Lehane was just another writer trying to establish a private eye series. Of course, they’d end up being some of the best books of their kind because Lehane is just that damn good.

Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have been friends since their childhood growing up in a blue collar Boston neighborhood and now they’re partners in a detective agency. They’re more...more
Dan Schwent
Dec 07, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dan by: Nancy, Kemper, Anthony, Johnny
As a gang war looms on the horizon, private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennara are hired to find a missing woman who stole some documents from a senator. What they find could ignite a race war and burn Boston to the ground...

When I recently got caught up on Robert Crais's Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series, I wondered if I'd find an acceptable crime series to fill the void. Consider the void filled to the point of overflowing.

A Drink Before the War stars PI team Patrick Kenzie and Angela G...more

Sinead O'Connor sings "somebody cut out your eyes" in Drink Before the War. It is a very sad song.

Basil Fawlty asks "would you like to eat first, or would you like a drink before the war? AHH! Er trespassers will be tied up with piano wire SORRY, SORRY!" It's a very amusing skit.

If you could somehow combine these two into a book, you'd have A Drink Before the War.

Denis Lehane's writing is very amusing, sometimes silly, often glib, yet with moments of poignancy. The world his characters live in...more
This book had both the makings of greatness and potential disaster for me. For one, high-marks in gritty detectivery (not a real word) from a trusted source or two had me going in with high expectations. Then there are the elements of the story itself. A guy/girl PI duo, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, could make for tension-laced banter (see Archer and Lana for the spyland ideal), but I'm not a fan of romance when it encroaches on the territory of my mystery plots. Likewise, the geographical...more
Came across this series when looking for some good crime fiction (which is not cooked up by ghost writers and doesn't bear a name of James Patterson on its cover) to bind me over until the next Tana French's and Gillian Flynn's releases. I think I am going to stick with it.

The main characters of this series are Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, Boston PIs. In A Drink Before the War they get hired by an influential state senator to locate a woman who, according to him, stole some sensitive docume...more
Relentlessly violent with more than a hint of social commentary and a double dose of hardboiled PI.

Dennis Lehane introduces his guy/girl dream team of attitude and mayhem, vulnerability and soul in the pairing of Kenzie & Gennaro with this first book in the series. Hired to find just one little old cleaning lady they become embroiled in gang warfare and political sleaze, leaving dead bodies wherever they go with a clever comment, a well placed shot and a heavy heart.

Halfway through I was abo...more

A great start to this series, I had high expectations from the off after some very positive reviews and my enjoyment (if that is the right word) of the film, "Gone, Baby, Gone", but this was better than anticipated.

The story starts with a light hearted tone with a private investigator, Kenzie, meeting with some high powered political players who want him to recover some missing documents that a cleaner has stolen. All sounds innocent enough. Let the mayhem ensue!

The story goes at a fair old...more
Um excelente romance policial.

Assassínio, prostituição, corrupção, racismo, luta de poder, violência doméstica, guerra de gangs,… Um verdadeiro cocktail dos melhores “presentes” que o ser humano tem para oferecer…
No meio deste “paraíso” movimentam-se:
Patrick Kenzie – um detective muito bom no que faz (e, por isso, caro), frontal, corajoso – como se não tivesse nada a perder (e tem?) - e com um sentido de humor oportuno, refinado e inteligente;
Angela Gennaro - a colega de Patrick - e pela qual el...more
Vedere nella libreria di famiglia un libro che si chiama "Un drink prima di uccidere" e prenderlo in giro senza ritegno, per poi leggerlo e smerdarsi alla grande.

Per la serie "ma come ho potuto". Cioè, insomma, sono giustificata, no?! Se penso al titolo "Un drink prima di uccidere" penso al classico killer stiloso che non solo ci gode nell'uccidere le proprie vittime, ma vuole farlo con stile portandole pure a bersi un bicchierino. Magari con vestiti firmati e il sorriso da "hey, baby".
(Lo so,...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are PIs who have been hired to find a woman believed to have stolen some possibly incriminating documents from a government official. Finding the woman is easy, but when she is gunned down in the middle of the street before Kenzie’s eyes (and before the documents have been recovered) the case gets a LOT more complicated.

Dennis Lehane where have you been all my life????? If you think I’m going soft with...more
After reading "Shutter Island", which I liked, (with reservations that have grown in hindsight), and having seen the film "Mystic River", which I also liked, I decided to hunt down some of Dennis Lehane's other novels. "A Drink Before The war" is Lehane's first novel and is proof that a writer gets better with experience, (though they do have a ceiling and Lehanes is a low one). Let me explain;
While Shutter Island had an interesting plot with clever twists, an interesting lead character, and a...more
Hmmmm...someone liked one of my reviews and I checked out this person's reading list as well as their reviews and heard mention somewhere in there a sentence or two about heroes, one likeable, the other...well, more along the lines of a sociopath. Dennis Lehane, among other authors was mentioned in this respect.

As always, my curiosity was piqued, and although I checked out the other named authors I did finally settle on Dennis Lehane. It was a good decision. Perhaps one of the best reading decis...more
Will Byrnes
A noir touch, complete with nifty madcap dialogue and a dark sense of humor makes this a fun detective tale. It begins when two politicians come to PI Patrick Kenzie and employ him and partner Angela Gennaro to retrieve some documents purloined by a cleaning woman. What follows is a large scale gang-war between two of the most notorious lowlifes in Boston, two who share a surprising connection. Depravity, turf, shame, revenge all figure in this dark tale of embarrassing pleasures and public corr...more
A good mystery-thriller & the start of what should be a good series. I believe he's working on book 4 now. He certainly captures Boston well & I liked the way he worked the racism. Very realistic. If you object to the word "nigger", don't read this. It's used often, but appropriately, as are other slurs.

He did a very good job on the characters. All of them popped out well & behaved believably. I had a little trouble with some of his action scenes, especially if they were close contac...more
Wow, what an outstanding, 5 Star first look at Dennis Lahane! Two P.I's, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, are hired for a simple "find-and-a-phone-call", locate the admin assistant of a state senator who absconded with some "documents". Well, the story gets a little out of hand with some major gunfights and action in the Boston area as the search goes on and once the items are found. This had a down and dirty, working neighborhood feel. Lots of moral issues are dealt with here, including racis...more
I watched and then read Mystic River several years ago and was impressed, but for some reason never started on the Kinzie/Gennaro P.I. series. Thinking it was time to rectify that oversight, I saw there were several available on Scribd, the ebook subscription service, for which I had a thirty-day trial. (This is not a commercial, but if you read a lot of ebooks Oyster and Scribd are worth a look.) I also had the first in the series, A Drink Before the War, from Audible read by Jonathan Davis)

I r...more
Jane Stewart
3 ½ stars. It was good, but I wasn’t wowed.

It feels like a realistic portrayal of cops and investigators. It’s told in first person by Patrick the private investigator. A few times he was too preachy on the subject of racial incidents, gang violence, and affirmative action.

This is the first in a series. I wanted to meet Patrick and Angie here before going onto some of the later books.

I had two favorite parts. I loved the psyco character Bubba. He was like Patrick’s unseen bodyguard - always arou...more
May 08, 2008 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bostonians and mystery/crime novel fans
Shelves: mystery
This is both Dennis Lehane’s first novel as well as the first in the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro PI series. It’s written in true noir style with gritty characters in the even grittier setting of Boston’s rough neighborhoods. Lehane’s writing is littered with impassioned political rhetoric and heavy-handed examinations of the racial tensions that plague my native Boston. I found myself wondering if the views are all Patrick Kenzie’s or if Dennis Lehane is using his characters to express his...more
I'm very grateful for the recommendation from Katie, although I had to keep strict control on thinking about the fact that it came up during the little Julia Spencer-Fleming almost-read-along/obsession/seminars here a few months ago. The relationship between Patrick and Angie is NOT that between Russ and Clare, although it has similarities, and expecting the same type of emotional reward from this wouldn't have been a good thing. For once, though, I managed to succeed at this self-control and as...more
"A Drink Before the War" is the first in a series of novels about two PIs (in Boston--where else in a Lehane novel?) that pre-date Lehane's more famous Mystic River. The characters (Patrick and Angie) are the same as those from the recent film Gone Baby Gone (have read the novel, looking forward to seeing the movie). The plot of the novel revolves around sensitive documents from the Mass. State house that then help ignite a gang war. The plot could have been stronger and the connections between...more
The part in bold applies to the entire Patrick Kensie / Angie Gennero series.

After watching the moving 'Gone Baby Gone' I wanted to read this series of books. I wasn't disappointed. The stories may not be classics, but they grab you and you want to read to the end. Most importantly for me, I like the main characters. Even when they do things that make me mad, it feels like when I'm mad at a friend and I know I'll get over it. I can relate to them and I feel like they're my friends even when I w...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rex Fuller
Sometimes you just have to keep reading. I did not really enjoy this one until 60% through it. It seemed way too self-aware, and too deliberately "hip-cool." Eventually, the characters became more real, the action more present, and the pace more quick. Overall I liked it.
A Drink Before The War is Lehane’s first book in the series featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. Personally I thought it was quite dark and depressing; painting us a picture of immoral politicians, deep-rooted racial hatred and unthinkable acts of violence in the Boston community. What I like about the private detectives duo, Patrick and Angie, is that they are as blue-collared as they come. They are fearless and decent; and most of all I admire them and root for them because despite thei...more
Last night I read a review on Goodreads that stated the racial references in A Drink Before the War were outdated. What a ridiculous statement. There is no statement on race in America that is outdated except, maybe, slavery. While Dennis Lehane's debut novel has received much praise, misguided thoughts like the one referenced above probably had a great deal to do with it not receiving even more. Race, more specifically, racial imbalance and misunderstanding, are at the heart of this novel. Leha...more
Audiobook re-read July 2014

You know, I think this was actually a bit weaker on re-read. Which is really the fault of how strong the rest of the series is. Everything seemed pretty harsh in this one and the racism stuff was pretty heavy handed. (Or was it? This book was published 20 years ago, so I can't judge it by today's world, where racism exists in different ways.) Anyway, the racism theme goes away as the series continues and the world it depicts is still harsh, but . . . not as harsh. At l...more
Carolee Noury
Dennis Lehane is a genius.

I read The Given Day this summer and loved it. I loved it so much, I needed to read everything he wrote starting at the beginning. (Know that feeling?)

This is his debut novel, published in 1994. I remember noticing how well it still fit.

The main character is Patrick Kenzie a private investigator and character impossible not to love. He's tough, but soft; lost, but knows himself- and has overcome some amazing things. One such reference is a scar he mentions several time...more
The first in a series of detective novels, featuring two Boston PIs, Patrick Kenzie and his hot female partner, Angie Gennaro. Kenzie's wisecracking narration was always entertaining, and he and Gennaro were interesting main characters. Sure, they’re stereotypes (the sarcastic, stolid type and his sexy female partner, with the requisite sexual tension), but they’re fun stereotypes.

But the plot was simplistic and had a few holes; also, the violence, including that from a “killing machine” friend...more
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Dennis Lehane (born Aug 4th, 1966) is an American author. He has written several novels, including the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award winning film, also called Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (Lehane can be briefly seen waving from a car in the parade scene at the end of the film). The...more
More about Dennis Lehane...
Shutter Island Mystic River Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & Gennaro, #4) Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro, #2) The Given Day (Coughlin #1)

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