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The Strangler
William Landay
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The Strangler

3.26  ·  Rating Details ·  1,877 Ratings  ·  193 Reviews
For the three Daley brothers, sons of a Boston cop, crime is the family business. They are simply on different sides of it. Joe is the eldest, a tough-talking cop whose gambling habits-fast women, slow horses-drag him down into the city's gangland. Michael is the middle son; a Harvard-educated lawyer working for an ambitious attorney general, he finds himself assigned to t ...more
Audio CD
Published January 30th 2007 by Books on Tape (first published January 1st 2007)
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3.5 Stars.. The book opens on 11/22/63, and if you know what happened on that awful day, you'll most likely agree, it's a great draw for a beginning.

THE STRANGLER is a story about the Daley family, particularly the lives of three grown sons, one a Detective for Boston PD, another a Harvard-educated Prosecutor, and the youngest a Master Thief. Also a focal point of the story is the suspicious death of their Police Officer father in the line of duty and the 'boyfriend' of their feisty attractive m

Nov 24, 2012 Corny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
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
Feb 05, 2013 Ruthanne Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2012 Judith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 25, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brian Durfee
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
Glenda Ricord
Jan 12, 2012 Glenda Ricord rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 31, 2016 Sandi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read Defending Jacob and enjoyed it so I thought I would try this book. I thought the characters were well developed and anticipated a huge surprise at the end, similar to Defending Jacob, that would result in a nice book discussion. The ending was a disappointment. Margaret's actions at the end didn't support how she was portrayed throughout the book. Her action didn't strike me as a plot twist or a surprise, it just happened and wasn't really believable. Also, I know this is a work of fictio ...more
Dec 22, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 05, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suspenseful with beautiful writing.
Kenneth Barber
Jan 23, 2017 Kenneth Barber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of three brothers and their family. The oldest son is a policeman, the next son is a lawyer in the attorney general's office, and the third son is a burglar. Their father was a policeman killed in the line of duty. The story follows their dealing with this tragedy and the family dynamic. The oldest son gets into debt by gambling and is forced to work for them. The mother is dating her husband 's partner, who it turns out is also taking graft from the mob. The second son ...more
Phyllis Richards
May 21, 2017 Phyllis Richards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read

I enjoyed the book even though it came during a lull in my own reading habits. It took me six months to complete, though no fault of the writing. I did like the story, but hate when people become trapped in their own addictions, as Joe Jr did.
Nov 18, 2014 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 04, 2012 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 21, 2016 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1
Shelves: own, crime, read_2016
Wow – I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. Jumping in, I thought I was up for a run of the mill semi historical crime novel, what I got instead was a deep seeded mystery with a heavy emphasis on strong characters intertwined in a family drama.

The three Daley brothers; Joe – the cop with a habit of getting in deep with the mob, Michael – the lawyer assigned to the Strangler task force, and Ricky – the cocksure criminal and professional cat burglar each bring a unique angle to t
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2014 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 23, 2011 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2014
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,
Mar 04, 2011 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 21, 2012 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 08, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: william-landay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2013 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 17, 2016 Marlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boston. Italians. Irish. The Strangler. The Mafia. The cops. Corruption. It's all there. A very busy book. The central characters are the Daley boys. Their father was a cop. Of the three boys, one is a thief, one is a crooked cop, and one is a lawyer. It took me a while to get into this book. There were too many things going on. By the time I got to the end, I was really into it. The ending, the whole last part of the book actually, turned out nothing like I thought it would. The author states t ...more
Jul 14, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 24, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit bias, here. I'm a Boston girl and work in the legal field-the Boston Strangler story still holds a terrible fascination for lot of local people, myself included. Mr. Landay's descriptions of the city as it must have been are spot-on. from my imagined view of the erstwhile West End, to the characters and general vibe of the city in the '60's...the writing is masterful, intertwining historical accuracy with fiction, to the point that I forgot which was which. Like his other work, the ch ...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.
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“It was a limitation of human consciousness: We live only in the future and past, we cannot perceive now. Now occupies no space, a hypothetical gap between future and past. Only an exceptional few could feel now athletes and jazzmen and, yes, thieves...” 3 likes
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