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World Gone By

(Coughlin #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  8,724 ratings  ·  1,039 reviews
Late spring, 1943. The world is at war but the American mob is in its heyday. Former crime boss Joe Coughlin now works as a consigliere to the infamous Bartolo Crime Family, effortlessly handling its interests in Tampa, Boston, and Cuba. In the decade since he lost his wife in a cascade of bullets, Joe has made a home for himself and his son, and once again forged ...more
Hardcover, 309 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by William Morrow
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Donna The Given Day was the first but it was so loosely connected to Live by Night they stand alone. I'm not sure how dependent World Gone By is on either…moreThe Given Day was the first but it was so loosely connected to Live by Night they stand alone. I'm not sure how dependent World Gone By is on either title.(less)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Will Byrnes
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, lehane
What they didn’t tell you about absolute power was that it was never absolute; the instant you had it, someone had already lined up to try to take it away. Princes could sleep soundly, but never kings. The ear was always tuned for the creak on the floorboard, the whine of a hinge.
The princes would probably do well to stay alert as well. Remember Richard the Third? World Gone By is the final volume of Dennis Lehane’s Coughlin Family trilogy. The series began ambitiously with The Given Day, set
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I like crime stories set back in the days of fedoras and trenchcoats, and I’m a big fan of Dennis Lehane’s. So this should be perfect, right? Sadly, the best I can say is that it isn’t bad.

Set 10 years after the previous book, Live By Night, Joe Coughlin has left behind his days of building a criminal empire based on bootlegging to the more respectable position of being a prominent man in Tampa. Joe runs several successful businesses but his real job is to work as an advisor and fixer for the
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People Who Like Darkness
Joe stared out at all the prehistoric flora and told himself that's exactly what was troubling him, that's what was gnawing at his soul - the difference between him and a savage.

He told himself - and then he pledged to himself - that there was a difference.

There was.

There was.

A couple more snorts of rye, and he almost believed it.

This is the last book in Lehane's Coughlin trilogy and it is the most disappointing. I feel like Lehane has really lost the thread here. The first book, The Given Day,
James Thane
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This excellent novel concludes the Coughlin Family trilogy that Dennis Lehane began with The Given Day. Through the three books, the story ultimately comes to focus on Joe Coughlin and is set against background of the nation's turbulent history from the end of World War I to the middle of World War II. Joe is the son of a Boston cop, Danny Coughlin, but he ultimately rises to become a major crime boss with principal interests in Tampa and in Cuba. He's associated with the noted gangsters of the ...more
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it

In this 3rd book in the 'Joe Coughlin' series, the gangster/businessman is in the midst of deadly mob rivals. The book can be read as a standalone.


As the book opens World War II is raging. Joe Coughlin, a former crime boss in the Tampa area, is now more of a businessman gangster living a (more or less) respectable life with his 9-year-old son Tomas.

Joe is an advisor to current Florida crime boss Dino Bartolo and friends with top lieutenant Rico DiGiacomo, whom he's known since childhood.
Do I really need to tell you in this day and age that this is a very well-written crime saga filled with fully-drawn characters and a page-turning plot? I don't think so. I could just tell you that it's a new Dennis Lehane book and you should already know what to expect.

World Gone By is the sequel to Lehane's Edgar-Award-winning Live by Night and you should definitely read that book before tackling this one. It leads to a much more rewarding experience. Set in the middle of World War II in
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I completely enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. I’m not a fan of ‘bad boys’ so when I found myself drawn to Joe Coughlin I was shocked. Yes, he’s a gangster, however, he possesses a bit of a conscious or at least twinges of guilt in some instances and his devotion to his son was the deal breaker forcing me to become a fan. Joe walks the tight rope of morality and immorality, questions right and wrong, searching deep within for justification of ugly tasks performed. Joe is a walking ...more
Description: 'The best gangster novel since The Godfather' Stephen King Joe Coughlin is untouchable. Once one of America's most feared and prominent gangsters, he now moves effortlessly between the social elite, politicians, police and the mob. He has everything he could possibly want; money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity. But in a town that runs on corruption, vengeance and greed, success can't protect Joe from the dark truth of his past -- and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, fiction
Seven years after the events of Live By Night, Dennis Lehane’s World Gone By picks up as Joe Coughlin settles into a position acting as a bridge between the criminal underworld and high society. Coughlin makes a lot of people a lot of money, which means a lot of people are very happy – so why has a hit been ordered on him?

Over the past few years, Dennis Lehane has slowly crept into Lawrence Block territory for me in that he’s quickly becoming one of my favorite living crime writers (although, I’
Jan 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
The finale to the Joe Coughlin series, which started with The Given Day in 2008 (where Joe was not the main character) and continued in Live By Night in 2012 (where he was.) Joe Coughlin has basically left the mob business and "gone straight,” making decent money in legitimate businesses, but he remains an advisor to the local underworld. His main focus is protecting his young son, and bedding the mayor's wife, but he becomes embroiled in a power play. Frankly, a bit slow and uninteresting. With ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Joe Coughlin is described by one man, a coroner, who had met him, as a man defined by “infinite capacity.” His wife had asked, “Capacity for what?” The coroner replied, “Anything.” In their brief meeting, he had “felt emanating from the man more grief, love, power, charisma, and potential for evil than he’d come across before or since.”

As World Gone By begins, World War II is waging. Prohibition has ended. Joe Coughlin has “retired” as boss of a powerful crime syndicate. His beloved
Jessica Jeffers
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have been waiting for this book since before I even finished its predecessor. I'd gotten Live By Night from the library for an eight-hour drive that my boyfriend and I were making from Philadelphia, where we lived at the time, to Columbus, to assuage my homesickness. As we were piling into the car and pulling onto the turnpike, we caught the tail end of Fresh Air, and it took me a minute to realize that Terry was interviewing the author of the book in my lap. Near the end of the interview, ...more
William Koon
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
World Gone By Dennis Lehane is a mess of a novel. Part ghost story which doesn't make sense and part crime fiction, the work flounders from almost page one. It conjures two tired tropes: I have to find out why and I have to do it before (insert date). In between Lehane sets the action with a false setting of Tampa, 1943. There is really nothing to like about this work. It's disorganized and confused. I have enjoyed the author's works in the past, but in this case Homer has not nodded. He has ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_2016, mafia, own
The Coughlin saga ends in a satisfying hail of bullets with WOLD GONE BY reaffirming Lehane’s place as one of my go-to-for-a-great-mob-book authors.

Joe Coughlin has lost his wife and buried many friends during his life as a fedora wearing, smooth dressing gangster but WORLD GONE BY takes his time in ‘this thing of ours’ to new extremes. Learning of a contract being placed on his head by a less than reputable source does little to crease Joe’s smooth veneer – after all, he’s more a businessman
Theresa Alan
Jul 07, 2015 rated it liked it
The whole time I read this, I kept thinking that I should be enjoying it more than I was because I’ve loved Lehane’s other books.

The protagonist, Joe Coughlin, is described as “slightly more corrupt than average,” but the only difference he sees between a thief and a banker “is a college degree.” Though the book is set in the 1940s, I have to say that’s an applicable insight to modern-day economics and politics, unfortunately.

I didn’t like this novel as much as the other Joe Coughlin books that
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dennis Lehane has a real talent for writing bad guys. And I don't mean thieves with hearts of gold; I mean unapologetic, make their own justice, murdering bad guys. His gangsters are nasty and vengeful, impossible to forgive and quick to pull the trigger. But Lehane's brilliance comes in his ability to also make them complex, even nuanced human beings.

I have so enjoyed this trilogy of novels centered around bad-guy Joe Laughlin. Everything about this one is steamy and rumbling with danger. Once
Benoit Lelièvre
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Listen, I'm the biggest Dennis Lehane fan there is. He's one of the few authors from whom I've read every publication. It hurts to admit, but I was pretty darn disappointed by WORLD GONE BY. I wasn't the biggest fan of the Coughlin series, but I thought the leap made from THE GIVEN DAY to LIVE BY NIGHT was bold and ambitious. THe third novel of the series isn't stale or lifeless, it's just so cliché and so unlike everything endearing about Dennis Lehane's fiction, it's actually quite irksome.

Mark Rubinstein
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
World Gone By is the third in a trilogy by Dennis Lehane. I found it the most rewarding of the three novels. Joe Coughlin has presumably left the crime world, but is still consigliori to a crime family, and learns that a contract has been put on his life. Without spilling the plot, I will only say that Lehane is a master at piling on drama, suspense, and a literary gloss to his storytelling. You will encounter Lansky-Luciano mob thugs, the ruthlessness of the Batista regime in Cuba, and the ...more
Simon McDonald
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
World Gone By is the third novel in Dennis Lehane’s ambitious set of historical novels, and an immensely satisfying crime novel in its own right.

Against the backdrop of World War II, World Gone By is set a decade after the events of Live By Night. Joseph Coughlin has left behind his gangster past and now serves behind the scenes of the Florida crime syndicate as an advisor; completely hands-off, consultant work only. At the same time, he walks among the Tampa elite as a respected businessman.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The third book in Dennis Lehane's brilliant Joe Coughlin Trilogy finds Joe and his son Tomas living in the Ybor City section of Tampa and a sugar plantation in Cuba during World War 2. Joe is essentially a smart, charismatic bootlegger from Boston who over the years (and the two previous books in the series), has risen through the ranks to a position of general facilitator to Meyer Lansky and his fledgling national crime syndicate. Next to his beloved son Tomas, Joe values loyalty above all and ...more
Lehane once again does a great job creating a believable group of gangsters. Here we see them struggle with changes in "the organization." There's killing, changing alliances, betrayal, more killings, and of course a dirty rat. The characters are all flawed (obviously as they are gangsters.) It was interesting to watch them struggle with their choices. A different locale for Lehane. While two of the characters grew up in Southie, the action takes place in south Florida and Cuba. I tore through ...more
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
NTS: eAudio Via Hoopla

The story of Joe’s ties to organized crime continues through the 30 and WWII. Here, Dennis Lehane gives no more insight into Joe’s life-choices than the last book, but now embarks from reality in introduces a hokey hoodoo (paranormal?) element. Joe sees visions.
Vincent Lombardo
An Amazing novel by a amazing writer. The ending alone earns the 5 star rating i gave it.
Mal Warwick
Apr 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trade-fiction
Here is a masterful piece of historical fiction from a veteran novelist with extraordinary talent. World Gone By follows the interior struggle of a man with a tragic past he cannot escape and an uncertain future. In her review of the book in The New York Times, Marilyn Stasio refers to that struggle as “the existential agonies of a moral man working at an immoral profession in a corrupt world.”

World Gone By is the third in a trio of interlinked novels that span the years from 1918 to 1943. The
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, fiction
It had to end this way, never any doubt. A quick read and the shortest of the 3 Coughlin books, I am always drawn in by Lehane's writing. 3 Stars
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is probably my favorite of the Joe Coughlin series. Joe's older now, living with his son Tomas in Florida with regular jaunts to Cuba, secretly seeing the mayor's wife. He's the Irishman still doing business and somewhat of a consigliore to the mob.

Turf wars continue to be fought, contracts out on competitors, young guns trying to move up, older guys trying to live to an old(er) age. Joe trying to care for his son and stay alive and not orphan the kid.

But wait. An imprisoned woman summons
Tim Healy
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the shortest of the Coughlin books, and also my least favorite. The two aren't really connected. There's actually a lot to like here, but it feels too much like it's just there to wrap things up that I'm not really sure still needed wrapping up. It's Lehane, so it was enjoyable. Read it for completion sake if you like him.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who loved the film "Miller's Crossing"
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: receipt of it as a birthday gift from my husband
Shelves: fiction, history, suspense
It's just business, not personal.... But the result is the same: Betrayal and death. This is the territory of WORLD GONE BY.

The story begins in Tampa, December 1942, at a fundraiser for soldiers fighting Hitler. It attracts the mayor of Tampa, his wife, and all the interconnected luminaries of the small town's society. The organizer is Joe Coughlin, legitimate businessman: ”He was one of the biggest charity supporters in all of West Central Florida, a friend of numerous hospitals, soup kitchens,
Larry Bassett
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I loved listening to this book and I'm not sure I can give a particularly rational reason why. I think a big part of it was because I just enjoyed getting to know the main character Joe. Joe the husband. Joe the gangster. Joe the father. Joe the murderer. All the things you've learned in your life about the morality of people in the mob are at play here. Mob justice is particularly paramount.

This is the third book of the three books series but the books are only slightly connected. I enjoyed
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Joe is a gangster, and in previous books in this series, made his way to the top and is now semi retired, but still on the counsel, where his vote counts in decisions made. He is also a part of the commission of families, where major decisions are made. But he considers himself retired, spends most of his time on small matters, and with his son. Then he starts seeing a ghost, a little boy ghost, and it begins to rattle him a bit... This is a great read and page turner, you like him even though ...more
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Mystery/Thriller ...: Group Read - World Gone By Chapters 1-5 spoilers welcome 16 28 Jun 03, 2015 10:17PM  
Mystery/Thriller ...: * Group Read - World Gone By - general no spoilers 22 29 Apr 25, 2015 12:46PM  
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Dennis Lehane (born Aug 4th, 1966) is an American author. He has written several novels, including the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award winning film, also called Mystic River, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (Lehane can be briefly seen waving from a car in the parade scene at the end of the film). The ...more

Other books in the series

Coughlin (3 books)
  • The Given Day (Coughlin #1)
  • Live by Night (Coughlin, #2)
“So, about the only difference I see between a thief and a banker most times is a college degree.” 3 likes
“In his time on earth, he’d learned one truth above all else when it came to power—those who lost it usually didn’t see it vanishing until it was already gone.” 3 likes
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