Justin's Reviews > Live by Night

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
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's review
Oct 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: crime-thriller
Read from October 08 to 19, 2012

I can now comfortably call Live by Night my favourite Lehane book. It was a rollicking read with numerous distinct settings and delicious set-pieces. Reads as something of a cross between Boardwalk Empire, Once Upon a Time in America and a Grand Theft Auto-style video game. It's gangster shenanigans, prison drama for a while, and really gets stronger as it goes on. Each of the stages in Joe's evolution from petty outlaw to mob gangster - he even negotiates in person with Lucky Luciano in NY towards the end placing the fiction in an historical context - are so well packaged they could almost have been separated into three novels. The novel begins in Boston, follows Joe to prison, then down to Miami/Florida. Each location is so richly described, you know Lehane has run the scenes through his head a hundred times. The landscapes are inherently cinematic, the crime dramas of the early 20th century so well known (in a favourable way), that reading Live by Night is almost like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and still being amazed by just how pleasurable wearing them is after all these years. Loved it.

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