The Strangler
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The Strangler

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3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  999 ratings  ·  134 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...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 14th 2008 by Corgi (first published January 1st 2007)
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Corny
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
Brian Lee
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
John
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...more
Glenda Ricord
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...more
Rick
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.
Carmen
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....more
Ms. A
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon
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
Jennifer
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...more
Ptreick
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.

Well.

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...more
Judith
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
Beth Farley
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??
Deb
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
Deb
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
David
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,...more
Dawn
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
April
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...more
Babette
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...more
Glenn
I decided to check out earlier titles by Landay after enjoying Defending Jacob very much. Gritty multi-generation Boston police family mystery with undertones of mobsters and good/bad cops, and surprise twists I've come to expect from a Landay novel.
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...more
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Kalies
I did thoroughly enjoy this book and it had my heart pounding as I neared the end. There were parts that were somewhat predictable, but heavily outweighed by the twists in the plot that I never saw coming. I actually liked this one more than Defending Jacob, and I liked that one very much.
Emily
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...more
Kevin
Maybe I'm going to have to stop looking at Goodreads ratings and reader reviews. After excitedly purchasing this book at a used bookstore, I set it on the shelf after seeing the lackluster response on this website. I finally picked it up and devoured it. Why in the world did so many people not like this book? Just because it wasn't "Defending Jacob"? This one reminded me of something Dennis Lehane would write, and I LOVE that guy! I really like the way Landay writes dialogue--especially that of...more
Madeline
This is the same author that wrote, "Defending Jacob," which is my new fav book of all time- so I thought I would love The Strangler as well. However, I was really disappointed. The book took on two completely different story lines that were irrelevant to one another- one about a sadistic serial killer and one about a bunch of mobsters. Towards the end, they SORT of tie together...but not really. The characters had to actually EXPLAIN everything through a Q and A dialogue: what was happening, an...more
Tim Gillen
Certainly a page turner. This is now the third Landay book, and I would say that at this point, I am definitely hooked, and am looking forward to his next book. His style is thorough, and there is usually a surprise near the end that you didn't anticipate. This book had a clear mob focus, and there were points that the details were a bit grisly.

I listened to the audiobook version,
Amy
Kindle

novel

Did not really care for the characters and all the corruption that took place in this Boston family story. It was just alright.
Ice
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ninefly
excerpt from detailed review here:
http://angeltyuan.blogspot.com/2009/1...

While the title and setting directly references the Boston Strangler's case, this book is more of a story set in the periphery of the fuss. It explores the brothers' varied relationships with their family, their heritage, and their jobs, as well as both mental and physical struggles and consequences they face as they become entangled in the world of serial killers and mob bosses. The subtle twists and turns impact more emo...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.
More about William Landay...
Defending Jacob Mission Flats

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