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The Strangler

3.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,612 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
Boston, 1963. A city on the edge. The Boston Strangler has already claimed a dozen victims.

For the three Daley brothers, crime is very much the family business but the Strangler's murderous spree is about to bring violent death a lot closer to home:

Joe - tough-talking cop whose gambling habits - fast women, slow horses - drag him down into the city's gangland.

Michael - Har
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 14th 2008 by Corgi (first published January 1st 2007)
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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
Oct 25, 2014 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
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
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
Glenda Ricord
Jan 23, 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 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
Apr 05, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suspenseful with beautiful writing.
Dec 30, 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.
Jan 12, 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.
Oct 02, 2014 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this novel does not have the stunning clarity of Defending Jacob, it does serve as the author's warm up book in that genre. Yes, it did need better editing and some trimming; it took me almost 100 pages to be totally into the story. Once engaged, though, it became a real page turner for me. Landay is quite good with the powerful twist at the conclusion of this story, which was of course the big draw in Defending Jacob.
I plan now to go back and read his Mission Flats, his debut novel, whic
Mar 05, 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
Aug 25, 2015 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-with-vernie
Enjoyed the historical fiction content of the story as we followed the case of the Boston Strangler and the impact of Kennedy's assassination on the city and America. Add the Daley family with their Irish heritage, family loyalty, tragic losses and their secrets. Comes together for what starts out as an interesting tale but Landay seems to get lost in his own musings as it seemed the book went on forever. Toward the end we really felt it should have been all wrapped up 8 chapters earlier. Not a ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Anie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading Defending Jacob, I looked forward to this book. Perhaps if I had read it first my expectations would have been more reasonable. I found myself, towards the end, just skipping through paragraphs to get to the end. I simply did not care about the story, didn't give a tinkers how it turned out. Not sure why. Certainly, the book was too wordy and sometimes it just seemed to drone on and on. I learned more than I'll ever need to know about migraines. And the violence was over the top. L ...more
Jan 29, 2015 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 28, 2013 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
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
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
Feb 17, 2016 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I really enjoyed reading this story. It kept me riveted until the last page; in fact, the last 50 pages or so were the best part of the book.
A brief synopsis: Circa 1963 Boston - 3 brothers, one is a cop, one is a lawyer, and the last one is a thief. All are affected by the mob in one way or another. In the meantime, the strangler hasn't yet been captured, so the investigation is still going on. There is a lot more to the story, but you'll have to read the book to find out more. 5 stars
Jane De vries
I am of Irish Boston descent but were things really that bad in 1963? Not all Irish are the same and not all neighborhoods are the same. Maybe it was for the best that I was in a sheltered suburb.

The Italians depicted reminded me of The Sopranos and yes, there really was a Boston Strangler.

Loved the audio narration. he really had the working class Boston accent correct.

Couldn't compare to "Defending Jacob' but was a good read nonetheless.
Jan 26, 2016 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1963 Boston. Kennedy has been assassinated and the Boston Strangler is active. Three sons of dead BPD Officer Joe Daley - Joe, a BPD officer, gambler, philanderer; Michael a Harvard educated attorney; Ricky, an accomplished burglar - interact and confront the gangsters and politicians moving toward a New Boston thru eminent domain and intimidation. Margaret, their mother, Kat, Joe's long suffering wife, and Amy Ryan, Ricky's reporter girlfriend, complement the brothers.
Beth Farley
Apr 11, 2014 Beth Farley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason, I was thinking William Landay (Defending Jacob) had a new book out, but when I tried to find it, I found this instead, written before that one. Set in the year I was born, right after JFK was killed, in the middle of the Boston Strangler investigation, yes please! Definitely gritty, and very chilling at times!! My only complaint, there is a certain word used very frequently, was it really in use that much in the early 60's??
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
Jun 11, 2014 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,
Sep 03, 2014 Becca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
too many guys doing stupid, bad things for my taste, but I did like the book overall. I was expecting a twist ending like in Mission Flats so that's what kept me going until the end, but I was a little disappointed not to find one. Much of what happened at the end was guessable throughout. I am excited to read Defending Jacob as I have heard that is the best of his books.
Mar 27, 2016 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved listening to this book on tape. Stephen Hoye was excellent, dramatic and articulate with just the right touch of a Boston accent.
Set in Boston in the year of the Boston Strangler, the story revolves around 3 brothers and their families. Full of suspense, The Strangler is a gripping crime novel. I loved it.
Sep 28, 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
Feb 12, 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
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
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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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