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

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,968 Ratings  ·  1,471 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
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jun 07, 2015 Shelby *trains flying monkeys* rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Kelly (and the Book Boar)
My friend Kelly recently read the fourth book in this series and clued me into it.

I read Mystic River and Shutter Island by Lehane and they were both okay reads. This one I LOVED.
You have Angie Gennaro who is tough as nails except for where it comes to her abusive husband.
Then Patrick Kenzie. Kenzie has lots of daddy issues. Kenzie might just have lots of all kinds of issues.
My gun is, as Angie would say, "not a fuck-around thing." It's a .44 magnum automatic-an "automag," they call it gleefu
Dan Schwent
Sep 16, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  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 Gennaro 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
Apr 04, 2012 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

Actual rating : 4.5 stars

Dark and addictive, A Drink Before the War is probably one of the best thrillers I've ever read, and I can't wait to get my hands on the other books in the series.

With none of the stereotypical crap I've learnt to dread, the characterization constitutes the greatest achievement of A Drink Before the War. Indeed I'm so tired of the one-dimensional archetypes which are often served to us on a silver platter. None of that here, but more nuances : none of them can be descr
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake)
Sep 10, 2015 Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake) by: Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)
*3.5 Stars*

Once that ugliness has been forced into you, it becomes part of your blood, dilutes it, races through your heart and back out again, staining everything as it goes. The ugliness never goes away, never comes out, no matter what you do. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

There have been so many books I've read and fallen in love with, lately. I'd love to say I'm just that good at picking out books and taking extraordinary leaps to try new and exciting genres and different authors...
Apr 19, 2012 B0nnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
May 17, 2016 Kaora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are hired on to do what seems like a simple job - find a black cleaning lady that disappeared with some important documents. But suddenly they find themselves caught up in something more. Something that could kill both of them.

I picked this up because I enjoy Dennis Lehane's writing and was looking for a new series since I just finished the last published book in Tana French's series. This completely fit what I was looking for: flawed character
Edward Lorn
This is my first experience with a Dennis Lehane book. I've seen the movie adaptations of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and Shutter Island but had yet to read something by him. Last night I figured I would remedy that. Thanks to the magic that is Minecraft and Audible, I was able to blow through it in one session of gaming. The audiobook is narrated by Jonathan Davis (no, not the lead singer of Korn), and Mr. Davis does a passable job. Nothing stellar, but he got the job done.

The book itself is
Paul Nelson
'Some people, you either kill them or leave them be, because you’ll never change their minds.'

A drink before the war is the outstanding first book in the Kenzie and Gennaro series and I've gotta say this is a completely absorbing crime thriller that explores racial divides, political power plays, abuse in a sickening form, gang wars and a distinctly profound lack of goodness in people.

Private Investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired by big guns Senator Sterling Mulkern and Senat
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
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
A Drink Before the War was my first Dennis Lehane book and an excellent start to the Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro series. The only thing I wondered was, why the hell did it take me so long before reading this book?

I liked Patrick and Angie, I didn't like Phil, Angie's husband and wondered how long before she would get rid of him. But there was one person beside the detective duo that I liked; Bubba. I have a bit of fondness for one person armies! The case was interesting and seemed to be a s
Apr 11, 2016 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired by a group of Massachusetts politicians to track down a missing person believed to have documents detrimental to the upcoming passing of a new anti-terrorism bill. As Kenzie and Gennaro begin to dig deeper into the case, questions arise surrounding their client’s true motives.

I thought this was an absolutely gripping read. Lehane has enjoyed success working on the critically acclaimed HBO series The Wire, so it’s safe to say he un


Welcome to the streets of Dorchester, Boston (late '80s)! And what have we here? A new favorite series.


Rating, 4.5

How did this happen? How had Dennis Lehane managed to slip under my radar till now? I've read my share of books featuring private detectives, fantasy, historical, contemporary detective agencies, pairs and those that work solo ... but it never caught me as an interesting theme so far (not counting Ian Rutledge ... he's a Scotland Yard inspector, an entirely different kind of
I'm a Lehane fan, pure and simple. His books Mystic River and Shutter island totally blew me away. I thought the novel Gone Baby Gone was great too. I really liked the Kenzie and Gerrano detective characters and was interested in their origins. I was also interested in checking out Lehane's debut novel, the one that got him into the game. So I searched out 'A Drink Before The War' and got cracking.

The story is about two Boston private eyes doing some investigating on behalf of some wealthy poli
Mar 16, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, crime

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
Aug 30, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-as-night
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
May 03, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2013 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, 5-estrelas
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
Jun 10, 2016 Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brutal Backstreets of Beantown

A blistering hot beginning to Lehane's Boston detective series. He was able to create magic mojo between mavericks Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro from the start, a super 1-2 Irish-Italian P.I. punch, taking it to the Boston streets, dodging bullets, brawn and barbs from 2 black street gangs and some powerful politicians.

This is a close 2d in the series to #4 "Gone Girl." I've criticized as too implausible and forced the third one and the last one Moonlight Mile. I
Joe Valdez
Oct 22, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
My introduction to the fiction of Dennis Lehane begins with a BANG! and keeps popping for 277 pages, as if a stevedore spent big on the Fourth of July and can't stop chucking firecrackers around polite society. Published in 1994, the dirty, combustive energy of Lehane's debut seems appropriate for a novel that climaxes on Independence Day.

Starting with a great title, A Drink Before the War takes place in and around present day Boston, where young private detective Patrick Kenzie is summoned to
Sep 14, 2014 Anastasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2011
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,
Jane Stewart
3 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 aroun
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
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
Mar 27, 2016 Obsidian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I gave this book 3.5 stars. Due to Goodreads not allowing for half stars, I rounded it up to 4 stars here.

I got the books in this series years ago because I really l loved the movie, "Gone, Baby Gone." I think I started this book and just went meh. I decided to re-read it and get through the other books in this series since they have been staring at me forever.

I can honestly say that this first book in the series was too all over the place for me. And I think I am supposed to l
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Kenzie & Gennaro (6 books)
  • Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro, #2)
  • Sacred (Kenzie & Gennaro, #3)
  • Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & Gennaro, #4)
  • Prayers for Rain (Kenzie & Gennaro, #5)
  • Moonlight Mile (Kenzie & Gennaro,#6)

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“That's the thing about being a victim; you start to think it'll happen to you on a regular basis. It's living with the reality of your own vulnerability, and it sucks.” 53 likes
“I go on the presumption that everyone's full of shit until proven otherwise, and this usually serves me in good stead.” 43 likes
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