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Mystic River

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  82,857 Ratings  ·  2,636 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, 416 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2001)
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Izzy I guess so. I live in Boston, particularly in East Boston which has kind of a large Hispanic community, but there are still some Italians here and…moreI guess so. I live in Boston, particularly in East Boston which has kind of a large Hispanic community, but there are still some Italians here and there. Boston is a farcry from Lehane's novel which is based on a Boston Lehane grew up in the 70's and 80's. Gentrification has been going on probably since like the late 80's I want to say? And it's still going on today.

In short, yes. There probably are still some communities like these out there, but I'm sure Lehane kinda exaggerates just a little bit.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Nov 14, 2013 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Every adult human being has the chance to choose a personally favored path of life (considering it isn't predeterminated by illnesses, accidents etc.), but the general direction this path heads towards will usually already be marked during childhood: This might be the idea which provoked Dennis Lehane to write about the abysms of humanity and the fateful consequences one single deed might release to weigh heavily upon your conscience for the rest of your life - even if it is something as simple ...more

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
Paul Nelson
Dec 17, 2014 Paul Nelson rated it it was amazing
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
Richard Vialet
I read this masterpiece a while ago before I joined Goodreads and I've been contemplating posting a review because it's on the top of my favorites list. But for a while I wasn't sure I could say anything that could do justice to this remarkable book. Not only is it Dennis Lehane's greatest book (and that's saying a lot), this modern tragedy sets the standard for all contemporary crime dramas and thrillers. It's one of the only books that I would consider near perfect and I would recommend it to ...more
JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust
Oct 04, 2015 JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust by: Lucy
Just finished watching the movie and while it was remarkable , I felt the book was better.

Passenger on the USS Dave for life.
Aug 09, 2016 Mara rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mara by: Kemper
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
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery fans
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
May 04, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I'm just saying there are threads, okay? Threads in our lives. You pull one, and everything else gets affected. Say it rained in Dallas and so Kennedy didn't ride in a convertible. Stalin stayed in the seminary. Say you and me, Sean, say we got in that car with Dave Boyle.

A horrible murder is commited in a blue-collar neighborhood of Boston. Dennis Lehane goes far deeper than your regular crime writer into the motives and the conditions that led to the crime. He concentrates on the personaliti
Jul 31, 2008 Lesley rated it really liked it
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
Bill Khaemba
“Happiness comes in moments, & then it's gone until the next time. Could be years. But sadness settles it.”

Image result for breathes gif

Another Lehane book under my belt and I enjoyed it immensely, the book was an elevated crime fiction book in which the character study and the amazing writing balanced well with the plot. Unlike Shutter Island which I highly love and probably one of his best works this one carried more depth & felt more than just your typical “solving a crime story”
“Life isn't happily eve
May 02, 2014 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
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
Wayne Barrett
A powerhouse!
I can't very well say I have become a fan of Dennis Lehane because, after all, this is the first of his work that I have read, but I will certainly be reading more of his work ( I already have purchased 'Shutter Island')and if it is anything like Mystic River, then yeah, count me in as a huge Lehane fan.
This book was about as close to perfect as you can get. The story drew me in; I felt like I was there, mingling with the locals, I could feel the atmosphere of the city and I could
Jan 03, 2016 Hugo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, 2016
Ainda não li muitos thrillers psicológicos, mas com a leitura deste Mystic River (e que leitura! bastante perturbadora, levando-me a pousar o livro algumas vezes), é algo que devo rectificar. Muito antes do final, torna-se fácil inferir o que se passou, o autor permite que assim seja, porque sabe que o leitor está completamente investido nos personagens e na maneira como eles vão lidar com os factos que lhes são apresentados. Dennis Lehane é um escritor a seguir!
Jan 26, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, favorites
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.
Aug 25, 2012 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-read
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
Asghar Abbas
Jan 31, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing

Its movie won't tell you of the book's humor

but this standalone was as witty and charming as his more well known series
Jul 22, 2014 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-noir
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
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
Jun 24, 2015 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4 stars - It was great. I loved it.

A well written, suspenseful mystery that feels as though it will stick with me long after I finish reading it. This was the first novel I have read by Lehane, but will definitely be picking up another by him. (Has typical Northeastern dialect, so don't pick this one up if you are offended by the F* word.)

Favorite Quote: He’d never wanted kids. Outside of priority boarding on an airline, he couldn’t see the upside to th
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jun 10, 2016 Chelsea (chelseadolling reads) rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Hmmmmsksuwgbtodqjk. I enjoyed this while I was reading it, but I'm definitely feeling underwhelmed overall. I guessed the ending at about halfway through and there were a few too many racial slurs in this for my liking. Blah. Gonna watch the movie tonight and I hope I'll like it more.
Jul 26, 2015 Jonfaith rated it it was ok
An inchoate loaf, I dashed through this, a day before viewing the film. Both sucked. I had heard Lehane on NPR and I appreciated his vision. There are some things I should avoid. Consider me sage.
Jan 31, 2016 Bắp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Không khí u ám, tăm tối trong truyện phương Đông và phương Tây rất khác nhau nhưng nếu bắt mình chỉ rõ rõ đích danh nó khác nhau chỗ nào như kiểu toán học 1+1=2 thì mình chịu :3 tất cả đơn thuần là vấn đề về cảm giác, mà cảm giác thì rất khó để diễn tả thành lời :3

Mình thích cái không khí này :3

Mình tự nhận là mình là 1 độc giả chấm điểm khá dễ dãi :3 nhưng cuốn này cực kỳ đáng đc 5 sao ko 1 chút suy nghĩ. Tuy thế mình trừ bớt đi 1 sao vì câu chuyện có quá nhiều cảnh gia đình tan vỡ :| 1 FA lõi
Gary Butler
Aug 15, 2016 Gary Butler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
36th book read in 2016.

Number 35 out of 528 on my all time book list. (2nd time read)
Jul 08, 2011 Cat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, favorites
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
Dec 16, 2013 Jill rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
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
Mar 02, 2013 Ensiform rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 14, 2015 Lucy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

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)
Kirsten *I support diversity in my reading and my world!"
Excellent and atmospheric mystery and thriller. Although, I figured some bits out. (view spoiler)

This story is full of angst and has a great sense of place. The neighborhood is an actual character here. Heinous acts were committed, but all the characters were sympathetic in some way.

I will definitely read more by this author.
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
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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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“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.” 85 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.” 69 likes
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