Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mystic River” as Want to Read:
Mystic River
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mystic River

by
4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  57,898 ratings  ·  1,952 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...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 22nd 2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1975)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mystic River, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mystic River

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
11th out of 4,430 books — 10,139 voters
Forrest Gump by Winston GroomThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerJurassic Park by Michael CrichtonJumanji by Chris Van AllsburgMary Poppins by P.L. Travers
I Only Watched the Movie!
142nd out of 822 books — 4,634 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dan Schwent
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...more
Mara
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 Le...more
Trudi

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...more
Carmen
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...more
Lesley
Jul 31, 2008 Lesley rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Elizabeth
May 02, 2014 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
David
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.
RandomAnthony
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...more
Brenda
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...more
Becky
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...more
Cat
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
Jill
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...more
Michael
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
Karen
Apr 07, 2009 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Brian
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...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!
Rade
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...more
Ensiform
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...more
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
Mike
Nothing beautiful, pristine or innocent survives very long in Lehanes's world. This is one of the darkest, grittiest, most depressing crime novels you'll ever come across. But the man can write and will keep you glued to the book right to the end. My first Lehane that did not involve Kenzie and Gennaro; but the setting is the same--blue collar Boston neighborhoods filled with flawed characters hiding their secrets. Mystic River gets 5 Stars.
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...more
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...more
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...more
bakanekonomama
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...more
Marvin
An excellent mystery thriller with a good sense of time and place. Well structured characters and a deep sense of humanity makes this a first-rate literary thriller.
Ross Cumming
I saw the film several years ago and as a result I had never bothered to read the novel, as I thought I knew the story. However I should have realised that like a lot of film adaptations, they seldom reflect fully the content contained in the novel. This is certainly the case with Mystic River and regardless of how good the film was, it never manages to conveys the thoughts and feelings of the characters like the novel does.
The story concerns three friends, Jimmy, Sean and Davie and as 11 year o...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....more
Neena
This was my first book by Dennis Lehane and though I could see his writing is better than 'just average' authors, the book disappointed me. I said better than 'just average' because he surely is better than 'formula writing' type best sellers authors, he lags behind when you start comparing him with authors like PD James, Ruth Rendell, Lousie Penny etc. The emotions seemed kind of flat to me. My observation is based solely on this one book and I have no idea what his other books are like but I a...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • A Simple Plan
  • The Insult
  • Skagboys
  • Dead Babies
  • Now and on Earth
  • Clockers
  • The Room
  • Clown Girl
  • The Fuck Up
  • The Elephant Tree
  • Fludd
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • Out of Sight
  • Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange
  • Guts
  • The Killing Of The Tinkers (Jack Taylor, #2)
  • Lunar Park
  • L.A. Confidential (L.A. Quartet, #3)
10289
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)

Share This Book

“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.” 67 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.” 55 likes
More quotes…