Ray Palen's Reviews > Live by Night

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
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Aug 02, 12

Read from July 24 to August 02, 2012

Dennis Lehane is so good at what he does as soon as he releases a new novel it goes directly to the top of my 'read next' pile --- regardless of who else is on that pile.

LIVE BY NIGHT is set in the time of prohibition, bootleggers and gangster's. Young Joe Coughlin is a major disappointment to his father, who happens to be a Police Captain in Boston. When Joe is arrested for his involvement in a criminal act whereby a cop was killed, his father washes his hands of Joe and let's him face his punishment in prison.

It is in prison where Joe comes alive. Teaming up with some well-known crime lords, Joe is able to blaze a path for himself and set up his life outside of prison. Still reeling from the death of his gangster's moll girlfriend and the sudden passing of his father, Joe makes tracks from Boston and heads to Tampa upon release.

It is here where the novel really catches fire. Joe finds himself in Ybor City --- a town of mixed races and an emerging Cuban population --- and he quickly takes on the popular illegal trade of the area --- rum-running. Bouncing between Florida and Cuba, filled with good and bad villains and surprises at every turn makes LIVE BY NIGHT an instant classic. In the hands of Lehane, he raises what could be common noir material to the level of fine literature and creates characters and scenes that you can actually smell and taste. Another hit for Mr. Lehane!
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