The only redeeming quality was Christian, who honestly did not make enough appearances. I cheered him on when he called...moreTerrible. ***SPOILER ALERT***
The only redeeming quality was Christian, who honestly did not make enough appearances. I cheered him on when he called out Rose for her childish, hypocritical behavior, and when he called out Lissa for hers.
Seriously, just drop the entire series, and start one featuring Christian. I would eat it up.(less)
After reading "Shutter Island", which I liked, (with reservations that have grown in hindsight), and having seen the film "Mystic River", which I als...more After reading "Shutter Island", which I liked, (with reservations that have grown in hindsight), and having seen the film "Mystic River", which I also liked, I decided to hunt down some of Dennis Lehane's other novels. "A Drink Before The war" is Lehane's first novel and is proof that a writer gets better with experience, (though they do have a ceiling and Lehanes is a low one). Let me explain; While Shutter Island had an interesting plot with clever twists, an interesting lead character, and a well written phrase every few pages it suffered with generic dialogue. The plot was developed solidly enough to overcome the books flaws though. The same can not be said of "A Drink Before The War". Lehane's star characters, two private investigators named Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro made their debuts here and I simply do not understand how either was found interesting enough by the publisher to warrant sequels. I suppose the nature of the publishing industry is every writer has to have recurring characters, even when they are as insipid as these two. Kenzie is completely generic as the wise guy P.I. and the only distinguishing characteristic for Gennaro is that she is an abused spouse. There is the typical sexual tension between the detectives but none of the charm and humor that made that so entertaining in "Moonlighting" with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepard. While reading Shutter Island I did have a nagging unvoiced complaint. I felt that the dialogue could have been better. It wasn't so bad as to distract from the story though. The dialogue in Lehanes debut novel is so cliched it overwhelms the already weak plot. Honestly, it is full of "groan-out-loud" CONVERSATIONS. Not a line here and there but entire exchanges between characters. One cliche after another. So many, so often it left me wondering if Lehane lacks self-awareness at all. I also wondered if he is surrounded by "yes-people" that never tell him the truth. The cliches are most noticeable whenever Lehane attempts to portray his characters as witty or sharing chemistry. The plot itself concerns incriminating material, powerful politicians, street gangs, and, well, I suppose, on the chance one might still want to read the book I should not say more about the plot. One other thing that bothers me about Lehane is his emphasis on race both here and, to a lesser degree, in Shutter Island. It comes across as, and I know this is speculation, but it is my review, Lehane might think it makes him edgy but to me it is just more generic cliches trying to pass itself off as some kind of enlightenment. Bah. I think I have had enough of Mr.Lehane. Hollywood seems to be able to make his novels worth watching and the ones I've read could benefit from a few rewrites themselves.(less)
I actually liked the pacing of the book. Too many books and films are so fast-moving, bam bam bam, the end, that I was refreshed with reading a book t...moreI actually liked the pacing of the book. Too many books and films are so fast-moving, bam bam bam, the end, that I was refreshed with reading a book that took some more time on realism with a supernatural twist. It felt like it wasn't being treated as something with a simple, straight-forward plot to get over with. You had random events happen, just like in life. There was tension, drama, comedy, and danger throughout the book. What I am very glad about is the fact that we no longer have to know how many cups of coffee Sookie has each chapter. Now, THAT, is too mundane for me.
Of course, I still wasn't happy with Sookie. She once again proves to be self-centered, impulsive, and hypocritical. Same old, same old. If only she would remove the "stay out of my business while I butt into yours" mentality I would like her a bit more. Also, waaaaay too comfortable with naked guys. tsk tsk, show some respect for your relationship. Amelia rubbed me entirely the wrong way. Too pushy, too willing to jump into changing Sookie's life without a thought. I have always loved her, but in this book she took a turn for the ugly. Eric. For once I didn't like him. He was too secretive about some BIG things and Pam didn't deserve the treatment he gave her. Claude should just leave. Period. I liked Bill a lot in this. He was very sensible and gentlemanly. Alcide, too obsessed. Sam, too intimate with Sookie while in a relationship with a less-than-likable were-girl.
All-in-all, I recommend this book for those who don't mind a slower pace.
One thing I take pride in is my obstinate way in refusing to know too much about a bit of entertainment prior to reading or viewing it. Give me too m...more One thing I take pride in is my obstinate way in refusing to know too much about a bit of entertainment prior to reading or viewing it. Give me too much of a jacket summary and I won't read a book. For this reason I try to barely glance at the back of a novel. All I want to know is the genre and a very, very basic outline. No plot details please. I am the same way about films. If a film is based on a novel then I go for the book first and avoid the film. For this reason, to this day I have never SEEN Gone With The Wind because the novel sits upon my shelf of books-to-read. (In a side note of "opposites do attract theory", my wife Carolyn, whose account this is, LOVES knowing all the details in advance. It isn't uncommon at all for her to hop up off the sofa during a movie to read ahead on the internet, then rush back to my side giggling about how much I am going to love or hate what happens next. Knowing in advance seems to enhance her enjoyment but completely ruins mine.) Having written all that I approached Shutter Island the novel knowing I had planned to one day see the film. Leonardo is one of my favorite mature actors nowadays so I figured it was just a matter of time before we saw the movie. Now that I have read the book I don't think I want to see the movie. Here's why; The book is really very good. It is a page turner that deals with some very heavy and depressing subject matter. It is difficult to say what this book is about without spoiling it all so I will just say that if you like a novel that makes you want to re-read it just to recognize the obvious giveaways you missed the first time around this is it. Just be warned the subject matter cuts straight to the heart of mental illness and the sometimes terrible consequences that can come with it.(less)