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Live by Night (Coughlin #2)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,604 Ratings  ·  1,711 Reviews
Boston, 1926. The '20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbr
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by William Morrow (first published 2012)
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The Memory Thief by Emily ColinGone Girl by Gillian FlynnLive by Night by Dennis LehaneThe Twelve by Justin CroninDefending Jacob by William Landay
Must Reads for Fall 2012
3rd out of 37 books — 130 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
Feb 27, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing
"This writer's got this"...It's nice as a reader when you realize that and can sit back and enjoy the story. Dennis Lehane is a writer who will put you in that easychair.

Live by Night was my first Lehane and midway through the first chapter I knew I was in safe hands. His writing flows, it touches on all the plot's necessary points and no more. Scenes breathe, characters grow, and the story seldom slows down.

This may not be a 5-star book for everyone. I'm giving it an extra bump up for the cont
Will Byrnes
May 24, 2013 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing
Updated - May 16, 2013 - see link at bottom

The opening scene of Dennis Lehane’s Prohibition gangster tale, Live by Night has our hero, Joe Coughlin, on a tugboat, in the Gulf of Mexico, fitted for a nice set of cement footwear, while a dozen or so of his least favorite people prepare to help him into a final swim. It is from this moment that we look back over the years to 1926 to find out how Joe came to be in such peril. The first thing we see is Joe and two other petty crooks robbing a speakea
I think Dennis Lehane may be a big fan of Boardwalk Empire based on this book.

In the mid-1920s, Joe Coughlin is a young man who has turned against his upbringing as the son of a legendary Boston police captain. Joe works for a local gangster and does the occasional robbery on the side. When he falls for the mistress of a rival to his boss, trouble follows, and Joe’s criminal career takes a turn that eventually finds him setting up a huge bootlegging operation in Tampa.

This is an indirect sequel
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Little Joe Coughlin was only a bit player in The Given Day, but here he gets an entire novel all to himself. It's not necessary to have read The Given Day first. Live By Night makes a fine stand-alone novel.

If you have read The Given Day, it will give you some understanding as to why Joe has chosen a career as a criminal. He was the neglected, often invisible youngest son. He observed how his father and brothers worked hard and lived within the law, and they were not rewarded for their pains. S
Dec 21, 2015 Carmen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Carmen by: LTWF
"I don't understand," Danny said softly.

"I know you don't," Joe said. "You, you buy into all this stuff about good guys and bad guys in the world. A loan shark breaks a guy's leg for not paying his debt, a banker throws a guy out of his home for the same reason, and you think there's a difference, like the banker's just doing his job but the loan shark's a criminal. I like the loan shark because he doesn't pretend to be anything else, and I think the banker should be sitting where I'm sitting ri
James Thane
Mar 04, 2014 James Thane rated it really liked it
Live By Night tells a broad, sweeping tale that stretches from 1926 to 1935, and from Boston to Tampa, Florida and on to Cuba. It includes a number of historical figures as well as fictional characters and follows the story that Lehane began several years ago in The Given Day.

At the center of the story is Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of Boston police captain, Thomas Coughlin. The Coughlin home was not a happy one, at least not for young Joe, who early on amused himself by doping out the combi
May 03, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing
-May 2013 Awarded Edgar Award for Best Novel-
This tale chronologically tells of the rise of a main protagonist Joe, a cops son, to a position of command of many men who partake in things of an illegal criterion.

Badabing badaboom with nostalgia, a different time in history more godfather like in its climb and battle to keep power but Joe started up with no Kin in-crime, his father was a cop so he had maybe you could say a slight disadvantage to make his name in fireworks but this fact could hold
There’s an element that bugged the heck out of me all the way through this novel, so let me just get it out of the way and move on, since this was a read I really enjoyed.

Despite the abundance of ideas in Live By Night, ideas which relate to the story’s era and setting: the futility of Prohibition, Jazz Age excess, bootlegging and gangland violence, racism, the Cuban émigré community in Florida - the main character, Joe Coughlin, isn’t given any real purpose or object to pursue. What are the mo
Oct 23, 2012 Joe rated it it was ok
Naturally all the reviews I read on this site praised the author and the novel. This is standard for every review. Reader tells what the story is about and then say what a great book it was and what a great writer the author is. I have no idea what they got out of the book. There is nothing specific except what the book is about. It's unfortunate that readers are not educated enough to explain what it is about a book that they like or maybe dislike.

I've read all of Lehane and find him to be a be
This was definitely fast paced and entertaining. It reminded me of Boardwalk Empire which I miss. If you like a story with a bunch of gangsters getting whacked or running around trying not to get whacked then this is for you.
Karolyn Sherwood
Dec 02, 2012 Karolyn Sherwood rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I am a big fan of Dennis Lehane's, but I'm not the target audience for this book. I agree with most of the big reviews of Live By Night: it's a high-level gangster novel, and it is very well-written. But in my opinion the plot is not necessarily fresh, and it never reaches the brilliance of Shutter Island.

Live (rhymes with give) By Night chronicles a good-hearted though misguided young man named Joe Coughlin. Lehane elevates him by making him a non-racist in a time when almost everyone else is d
Jun 24, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
My sincere thanks to William Morrow who provided an advanced reading copy of Live by Night which will be published October 2012.

If you look back at my book shelf you'll see I really loved Dennis Lehane's The Given Day. What I can't quite figure out is why I didn't write anything about it at the time. I thought I had. Regardless, when given the opportunity by William Morrow Publishing to read Live by Night, I was thrilled.

Live by Night is being called The Given Day #2 and does continue the story
Aug 13, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
This is my first foray into reading Dennis Lehane. I'm not a mystery reader, generally, nor am I a fan of crime novels OR historical novels. However, with Mr. Lehane on the Board of Trustees where I work, I thought I'd give this a try. Add to that the consistent praise his work gets, I figured I would overcome my usual disinterest for the genre and give it a try.

I was suitably impressed. Dennis is a great writer, and his marvelously detailed and nuanced story of the life of an gangster... oops,
This book started with good promise. Joe was an interesting character operating in a vividly described 1920s Boston. His father was chief of police. As you might expect in Lehane novels, Joe was a criminal protagonist.

Lehane does a good job of exploring father/son conflicts, and extends the family theme into Joe's criminal decision making. Unfortunately, the latter two thirds of the book in Tampa read like Hollywood cliche.
Bob Mayer
Oct 04, 2012 Bob Mayer rated it it was amazing
This is a Right Now book. Meaning my wife read it and I had to read it right now so we could discuss it. Not tomorrow or when I was less busy but drop everything because it's so good that it needs to be shared like a movie. Thankfully she doesn't read many right now books. Most are when you have time or on the plane or if it's sort of interesting--when you miss your flight. This was a are-you-done-yet, right now book. And I see why.
Once we finished the rehash over dinner, at the dog park and du
Nov 11, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
I’m addicted to Lehane’s storytelling skills, and this book supplied me with a good fix. As with Stephen King, people can debate all they want about where Lehane fits in the scheme of lasting literature, but I don’t care for that subject. I get pleasure from his ability to draw me in with complex characters I care about and to engage me in their development as they walk the line between the darkness and the light. I also appreciate his non-flashy prose, which works effectively and almost invisib ...more
Review originally found on my blog;

While Joe Coughlin is the son of a Boston Police Captain, he has long turned his back of being a moral citizen. Joe has graduated into petty crimes to high paying robberies. But when he robs a speakeasy of a Boston mobster things change for him. When the mobster kills Joe’s love, Emma, he becomes obsessed with seeking revenge. Joe works up the ladder of organised crime till he is in the right position to take his revenge
Oct 26, 2012 Nette rated it it was ok
This is disturbing. Somebody has kidnapped terse, cynical, grimly funny Dennis Lehane, the guy who wrote a series of excellent Boston detective novels, and replaced him with a sentimental hack who writes sentences like this:

"He was starting to suspect he was in love with her. In those rare moments when the cage opened and he was invited in, he found a person desperate to trust, desperate to love, hell, desperate to live She just needed to see he was worthy of risking that trust, that love, that
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Prohibition, speakeasies, bank robberies, gangsters, mobsters, jail time, murders....LIVE BY NIGHT has it all. You will follow Joe Coughlin through his life as a privileged child, a gangster, and a mob boss.

Joe Coughlin is the son of Thomas Coughlin....the only problem is that Thomas is the Chief Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Police Department and his son is a criminal. Joe feels he and his buddies are invincible, but he finds out they are not. Joe has committed many robberies in his short
Nov 09, 2012 Kurt rated it it was amazing
Sometime during the second or third chapter of this book, I closed the book and texted my brother, "Lehane writes an amazing femme fatale." He immediately texted back, "Lehane writes an amazing lots of things." Yes he does, and almost all of those things are proudly on display in this epic historical novel.

The novel continues the story of one of the minor characters from The Given Day, with appearances by some of the wounded survivors of that amazing novel, but a new reader will never be lost fo
Angela Savage
Mar 04, 2013 Angela Savage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I suspected I'd like Dennis Lehane's Live by Night by when I read the title of the Chapter One, 'A Twelve O'Clock Fella in a Nine O'Clock Town'. With the opening line, 'Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin's feet were placed in a tub of cement', I was hooked.

Lehane combines an engrossing plot and seamless historical setting with complex, credible characters, expressing it all in hard-boiled poetry.

Live By Night is drama in three acts. Part 1 takes place in Boston be
Aug 03, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing
The best book I've read this year....of course, I love Dennis Lehane, but I was skeptical about this foray into historical fiction. (Historical fiction? He's supposed to be writing psychological thrillers and gritty detective stories!) I was hooked by the first chapter and literally read the book in two days - could NOT put it down.

This down and dirty tale of prohibition-era mobsters begins in Boston (like most of his books) and later moves down to Tampa as we follow these hard-boiled gangsters
Amanda Patterson
Jun 13, 2015 Amanda Patterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dennis Lehane could write about a snail race and make it sound thrilling. He doesn’t though. The author of Shutter Island, Mystic River, and A Drink Before the War is back.
Joe Coughlin meets icy beauty, Emma Gould, when he is 19. He is a small time gangster and she is Albert White’s mistress. Joe knows he shouldn’t but he falls in love with her. They start an affair.
It’s 1926 and prohibition is in full swing. Coughlin hates his father, Thomas, who is the Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Poli
Dec 12, 2012 Skip rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
A sequel to "Any Given Day", which focused on the main character's policeman brother Danny, this novel's main character Joe Coughlin is a criminal, making and distributing liquor during the Prohibition years. Joe is a complex character, running with two brothers, getting sent to prison for his complicity in the death of two cops by friendly fire and double crossed by his lover. From the streets of Boston, we follow Joe to prison in Massachusetts, where he becomes a mafia guy, who is sent to run ...more
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane is a 2012 William Morrow publication.

Dennis Lehane is a prolific writer, proving he can write in many styles, present day or historical, with the same flair and depth.

I love historical fiction, and crime fiction, so I knew this book was going to appeal to me.

However, I wasn’t expecting this excellent character study of Joe Coughlin, the son of a police officer, who back in the mid-twenties gets involved in petty crimes, convincing himself he is an outlaw, not a
Richard Vialet
While not as affecting or as memorable as The Given Day , Dennis Lehane's usual potent writing and attention to detail elevates this sort-of-sequel. Great read.
Nov 21, 2012 Tony rated it really liked it
LIVE BY NIGHT. (2012). Dennis Lehane. ****.
This is Lehane’s latest crime novel – the saga of Joe Coughlin. Joe is a young Irishman from the Boston area who wants to get ahead. The quickest way he can find is by becoming ‘somebody’ in the world of crime. He makes the distinction between being a gangster – which he says he is not – to being an outlaw. Early on, he believes that the difference lies in not killing anyone. We first meet Joe when he and his two best friends, Paolo and Dion, decide to
Feb 20, 2013 Krycek rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
When we were kids and we used to play cops and robbers it was pretty clear who was supposed to be the good guy and who the bad guy. Of course, real life is seldom that clear and in the Depression-era America of Dennis Lehane's Live By Night the distinction is nearly irrelevant. Cops were cops, but cops could often be crooks themselves. Others, like Joe Coughlin, who himself is the son of a cop, live outside the imposed the laws of the state while subscribing to their own brand of uncommon honor. ...more
"Live by Night" is an incendiary story, spanning the rise in power of Joe Coughlin, who is about to turn age twenty at the start of the story.

Before the action begins, there is a scene where Joe is in the hands of his enemies. It appears as if these might be his last moments and we wonder how he came to this situation and if there was any way for him to extricate himself and survive. The rest of the story looks into the events leading up to this scene.

Those who have read Dennis Lehane know how m
I love prohibition era gangster stories – LIVE BY NIGHT is perhaps one of the best there is. The main character Joe Coughlin, a self proclaimed outlaw brings a refined sense of thugernomics to Tampa’s Latin Quarter. As much as Joe’s prerogative is to make cash in the rum trade, it’s his drive at the hands of a broken heart that gives him is fire and determination on the path to damnation.

LIVE BY NIGHT is a deeply character driven story. Joe, a son of a prominent Boston police officer turns his
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Coughlin (3 books)
  • The Given Day (Coughlin #1)
  • World Gone By (Joe Coughlin, #3)

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“The foundation of your life is luck. Hard work and talent make up the difference.” 10 likes
“He'd told his son recently that life was luck. But life, he'd come to realize as he aged, was also memory. The recollection of moments often proved richer than the moment themselves.” 8 likes
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