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Mystic River

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  62,942 ratings  ·  2,081 reviews
When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened -- something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.

Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con who owns a corner stor
Paperback, 478 pages
Published 2002 by HarperTorch (first published 2001)
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61 Hours by Lee ChildAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieMystic River by Dennis LehaneThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh
Great Crime and Mysteries
3rd out of 98 books — 47 voters
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
174th out of 545 books — 630 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan 1.0
Once upon a time, three boys were fighting in the street when two men claiming to be plainclothes cops show up. One kid gets in the car, the others stay put, and their lives will never be the same. Decades later, Dave Boyle, the kid who got into the car, is accused of killing the daughter of Jimmy Marcus, one of the other boys, and the third boy has grown up to be Sean Devine, the cop in charge of the case. Did Boyle do it? And if he didn't, can Sean find the real killer?

Yeah, 2013 was supposed
Paul Nelson
Writing this review as I sit here watching Sean Penn discover the brutal death of his daughter, kicking myself once again because this is another book I should of read a long time ago. Just glad in a way that I also hadn't seen the film and blown a powerfully compelling ending that managed to stay just out of my grasp until two pages before the big reveal.

Mystic River is a riveting character driven crime thriller about three boys, one abducted and forever scarred with what he endured, all grown

Just before picking this book up - my first Lehane (it won't be my last) - I came across a quote by him illuminating the working-class, blue-collar nature of noir:
In Greek tragedy, they fall from great heights. In noir, they fall from the curb.
I love this quote. It slices right to the heart of who we are reading about, and even why we are reading about them.

In Mystic River, Lehane is shooting from both barrels; he intuitively knows who he is writing about and where -- the gritty, depressed, w
You didn’t belong. Don’t you get it? That’s all a neighborhood is: a place where people who belong together live. All others need not fuckin’ apply.
Clocking in five of his books over the past few weeks, I've begun to feel like I'm living in a sort of Dennis Lehane-land — an ineluctably dark place that is made all the more so by its striking resemblance to our own.

While Sophocles and Aeschylus rarely used blue-collar neighborhoods of Boston as the backdrop of their works,* in Mystic River
JaHy♕ Bitchy  Goddess ♥'s  everything CrAzY  ☿
Mar 24, 2015 JaHy♕ Bitchy Goddess ♥'s everything CrAzY ☿ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JaHy♕ Bitchy Goddess ♥'s everything CrAzY ☿ by: Lucy
Shelves: 2015-favorites
Just finished watching the movie and while it was remarkable , I felt the book was better.

Passenger on the USS Dave for life.
May 16, 2014 Carmen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: mystery, fiction
If you've seen Martin Scorsese's THE DEPARTED, then you are familiar with the setting of this book. A poor, predominately white neighborhood (in Boston) where (male) children grow up to be either criminals or cops. Violence is a part of life, and the vicious cycles of abuse and crime are never ending.

Jimmy, Sean, and Dave grew up together. When they are 11-years-old, a "cop" car pulls up and busts them for fighting in the street. Sean and Jimmy, the tougher ones, lie and avoid getting in the car
Jul 31, 2008 Lesley rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of crime writing, fans of Boston
Steeped as it is in such uplifting topics as childhood sex abuse; repressed pedophilic desire; betrayal; broken friendships; broken people; doomed love; the pain of loss; brutal, senseless murder; the stifling nature of the stoic, emotionally-contained masculine ideal; and tragically misguided attempts at retribution and revenge, Mystic River is an enjoyable and deeply satisfying read. Dennis Lehane paints a vivid, beautifully romantic-yet-depressing portrait of various lives in an economically ...more
May 02, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Will Byrnes
Shelves: fiction
Devastating. While reading this book I entered into a world of which I know nothing about. Place is very important in Mystic River and having grown up on the West Coast I was at a disadvantage. But the themes? Universal.

I had in mind the movie Good Will Hunting. Those characters had it rough. South Boston, working class, hard lives. That moment where Robin Williams explains Will Hunting to Professor Lambeau:

... And why does he hang out with those retarded gorillas, as you called them? Because an
So intense! One of the best mystery/thriller books I have ever read. Not just a detective novel but also psychological. The characters are portrayed superbly. 5 stars.
Whoo, Mystic River is good, so good I stayed in the bath extra long to finish the last 50 pages, I didn’t care how cold the water grew, I turned on the water as hot as it could go, which wasn’t very hot because I’d run all the hot water out, with my toe, and read this fucker to the last word. Mystic River was a blast, like a really fucking good, layered detective movie, except the movie version didn’t come close to catching the book’s nuances.

Lehane’s novel centers on the relationships between t
Twenty five years after Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus and Dave Boyle had their boyhood friendship torn apart by an abduction of one of the boys, in the street where they were playing, a murder has brought them all together again.

Sean is now a homicide detective, married to Lauren, but separated, with a daughter he hadn’t seen yet…..and when Jimmy’s nineteen year old daughter Katie, is murdered in the early hours of a Sunday morning, Sean is assigned to the case. He is just back to work from a weeks
The only annotation I took during Mystic River is attached to this quote: “Life wasn’t a fucking movie, man, it was…fucking life.” I wrote, quite simply, “this author sucks at profundity and sentiment.”

Honestly I think that quotation and my brief comment could suffice for a whole review. What more do you need to know about this book after reading that clichéd ‘life is a movie’ line? But I will try to write more.

This is a mediocre mystery novel in every sense of the word mediocre. The writing is
I'm not a fan of Sean Penn, so I never even wanted to see this movie, and didn't even know that there was a book until after I'd read Lehane's other book Shutter Island, which I really enjoyed. So when I saw that my library had this on audio, I borrowed it, and have just now got around to listening to it.

I think that this was a pretty good story, but it wasn't really as gut-wrenching or as horrifying as I'd expected it to be, knowing that it was about the murder of the daughter of one of the ma
I finally got around to reading Mystic River about a month ago at the recommendation of a few Lehane fans, both diehard and casual, and it did not let me down. Even though I saw the movie years ago when it came out, the novel was still surprising (and better than the movie for offering much more nuance and inner psychological turmoil). (One problem with seeing a movie before reading the book is the inability to picture the characters as anything but as the actors that portrayed them. For example ...more
Dave, Sean and Jimmy where childhood friends, but things changed when Dave gets into a stranger’s car and the others don’t. Twenty five years later all three are completely differently people. Sean is a detective, Jimmy is an ex-convict and Dave is just a shell of a man; never quite recovering from the emotionally scarring events of his past. Their lives come together again when Jimmy’s daughter is found brutally murdered, Dave returns home covered in blood and Sean is put on the case to find wh ...more
Apr 07, 2009 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marty, Alice, Renata, Marie, Kathi, Marie, Mike
Wow. I had seen the movie a few years ago, and thought it was OK. I recently started reading LeHane's murder mystery books, and found them enjoyable, quick reading - sometimes a bit too heavy on graphic violence for my taste. But this one ... wow. Tough to do justice to in a movie, since so much dialogue takes place in the characters heads. More of a psychological thriller, with fully drawn characters, than just a detective novel, it completely sucked me in. Can people really change their basic ...more

My second time reading this novel......

1. This book broke my heart all over again

2. This book is still 5 stars and will forever be one of my favorite novels

3. (view spoiler)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chad Sayban
“It had occurred to Sean once - on a bender about ten years before with some buddies, Sean and a bloodstream full of bourbon turning philosophical - that maybe they HAD gotten in that car. All three of them. And what they now thought of as their life was just a dream state. That all three of them were, in reality, still eleven-year-old boys trapped in some cellar, imagining what they'd become if they ever escaped and grew up.”

When three young boys in 1970s Boston encounter a pair of child molest
Joyce Lagow
In 1975, three 11-year-old boys--Dave Boyle, Sean Devine, and Jimmy Marcus-- from a working class suburb of Boston were playmates. One day, a car came along, and two men who claimed to be police officers threatened the boys for fighting and demanded that they enter the car to be taken to the police station. Instinctively, Jimmy and Sean refused; Dave, far more timid and uncertain, got in. Four days later, he returned to the neighborhood, after escaping from the men who turned out to be pedophile ...more
Cátia Santos
Até onde nos poderão levar as nossas escolhas? Até onde os acasos do destino definirão o resto das nossas vidas?

Mystic River é uma obra que toca profundo no interior de cada personagem, muito bem escrita.

Já tinha visto o filme, há muitos anos, com grandes interpretações, que dão o rosto a três personagens muito fortes, e claro que gostei ainda mais da obra escrita...

Um grande livro!
Fantastic! Just great all around story. Lehane really knows how to write great characters, with raw emotion and grotty feel to them. None of the characters were unlikable, despite their past. Some were shady, some were good, and some were bad but with good heart. The dialogue felt real, never stiff or sort of robot-like. So many emotions flying around, so many people confused, lost, and paranoid of their own future.

Not going into characters and the plot of the story much. Let's just say a man's
The lives of three men who knew each other as kids – Sean, now a cop, Jimmy, a reformed criminal, and Dave, who was abducted and molested as a child and is now something of a loser – intersect when Jimmy’s daughter is found brutally murdered. As Sean and Jimmy both investigate, secrets from all three men’s lives are revealed. Did Dave’s abduction turn him into a savage killer under his family-man nebbish exterior? Or did Jimmy’s underworld enemies plan a revenge hit? Each revelation is more dest ...more
Larry Bassett
“You ever think how the most minor decision can change the entire direction of your life?”

It seems like I have been hearing about Mystic River ever since I joined GR almost three years ago. I have finally decided just to do it – read the damn thing. I probably would have read it sooner but I bought a used copy, put it on my overloaded and minimally organized book shelves and couldn’t find it again for quite some time. Eighteen of my friends have read or have planned to read this book. Not one
Jorge Luis Castanos
Muchos dirán que las novelas del género noir y de crimen no son comparables a las de décadas atrás. Muchos dirán que los autores contemporáneos no tienen la perspicacia de Agatha Christie, la gracia de los personajes de Sir Arthur Conan Doyle o la clase de Mary Higgins Clark. Me atrevería a refutar esas ideas con la obra de Dennis Lehane, Mystic River, publicada en el 2001.

Boston, Mystic River, The Point, The Flats... Un vecindario pobre, donde la clase trabajadora mayormente es blanca, donde lo
Maria João Fernandes
"Para que é que fazemos fila? Aonde é que esperamos ir? E porque nunca somos tão felizes como pensávamos quando lá chegamos?"

Esta é uma história sobre três amigos de infância, que confrontam o seu passado e as suas escolhas, que marcam o tempo presente. Quando Dave, Sean and Jimmy tinham 11 anos, Dave foi levado por dois homens que se faziam passar por policias. Apesar de o rapaz ter consigo escapar, o acontecimento levou à separação dos três amigos, que cresceram separados e seguiram caminhos d
I absolutely love the writing of Dennis Lehane. He creates such depth with his use of so many vivid layers to his stories and to each of his characters. It makes it easy to take it all in. Even though there are many sub layers to his descriptions, it isn't the obvious details. Even though it might seem a little wordy, I liked how he maintained control and kept the information in his stories tight and focused on the plot and the people. Sometimes with crime/mystery books, the author forces the re ...more
Jane Stewart
Wonderful writing, but it’s too depressing for me - during and at the end. I’m looking for entertainment.

It’s a mystery with unexpected events and very full character development. I like the way the author writes about characters, their thoughts, decisions, dialogue. But I don’t like the downer element. I’ve read three books by Lehane. In all three books, horrible things happen to children. I grieve for that and other things. There is a lot of sadness here about life and society. I never smiled.
John Martin
This book is darker and grittier than my normal fare, but it would be mean spirited of me not to give it five stars. Simply, it is a brilliant mystery.
I remember some years ago being in a different country and straying into the wrong part of a city. It was seedy and clearly not the place a tourist laden with traveller's cheques and camera should have been. I spent 10 minutes walking briskly out of those city blocks, with people walking behind me and all kinds of eyes watching me from dirty alley
Dua puluh lima tahun yang lalu, Dave Boyle masuk ke dalam sebuah mobil dan menghilang selama empat hari. Kedua temannya, Jimmy Marcus dan Sean Devine cukup "pintar" untuk tidak naik ke dalam mobil yang mereka kira mobil polisi itu. Dave ternyata diculik oleh dua orang pria pedofil, dan dia cukup beruntung untuk bisa keluar dari neraka itu dan kembali kepada ibunya yang gila. Oh, Dave sudah tidak punya ayah.
Sejak saat itu, tiga orang ini tidak bermain bersama lagi dan menjalani takdir mereka yan
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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 A Drink Before the War (Kenzie & Gennaro, #1) Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie & Gennaro, #4) Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro, #2) The Given Day (Coughlin #1)

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“She blew a stream of smoke up at the empty clotheslines. 'These silly dreams you have when you're young. I mean, what, Katie and Brendan Harris were going ot make a life in Las Vegas? How long would that little Eden have lasted? Maybe they'd be on their second trailer park, second kid, but it would have hit them sooner or later - life isn't happily ever after and golden sunsets and shit like that. It's work. The person you love is rarely worthy of how big your love is. Because no one is worthy of that and maybe no one deserves the burden of it, either. You'll be let down. You'll be disappointed and have your trust broken and have a lot of real sucky days. You lose more than you win. You hate the person you love as much as you love him. But, shit, you roll up your sleeves and work - at everything -because that's what growing older is.” 69 likes
“Life isn't happily ever after... It's work. The person you love is rarely worthy of how big your love is. Because no one is worthy of that and maybe no one deserves that burden of it, either. You'll be let down. You'll be disappointed and have your trust broken and have a lot of real sucky days. You lose more than you win. You hate the person you love as much as you love him. But you roll up your sleeves and work - at everything - because that's what growing older is.” 58 likes
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