Alisha Marie's Reviews > A Drink Before the War

A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
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's review
May 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery, e-books-i-ve-read

I've picked up my fair share of mysteries throughout my life. Frankly, when it comes to that genre, it doesn't take much to satisfy me. Give me a mildly dark, non-gory (although with this I can take or leave), whodunit and I'm happy. It doesn't need to be complicated. Just a well-written page-turner is all I ask for. And for me not to predict the whodunit before he/she actually, you know, does it (Though if I do figure it out, it must've been extremely simple because very rarely do I figure out the whodunit). For me, that's what mysteries are all about. A Drink Before the War wasn't exactly the perfect mystery, but it was still pretty damn good.

Now, the whodunit aspect of the whole mystery genre isn't really present in A Drink Before the War because in the beginning, we already have an inkling as to who exactly dunit. This book unravels what exactly they did and the consequences of those actions. The "mystery" wasn't as dark as I usually like them (think Criminal Minds dark) and wasn't what kept me reading at all. That aspect was unexpected.

Usually when I start a new mystery series, it's really the mystery that has to keep me intrigued. It's good to like and connect to the characters, but I, first and foremost, need to find the mystery intriguing. This didn't happen with A Drink Before the War. I did like (not love) the mystery, but what I loved were the characters; so much that I could ignore the lackluster mystery. Patrick (who's the narrator) was charming, smart, and funny in that self-deprecating way. It was refreshing to see a man in literature be aware of his shortcomings. Angie was pretty kick-ass in her own right especially towards the end.

Now, their romance. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not a romance fan unless it's Young-Adult (excluding Twilight), actual chick-lit, or various fanfics. I usually end up rolling my eyes at out-and-out romances and definitely if you have a well-written novel and just add romance in it so that the blurb can include romance to the list of all that's amazing about a particular book. You know the ones that have "Intrigue, horror, and romance! What more can you possibly ask for?!" I've seen many a book ruined by having a romantic subplot just for the sake of saying it's there (The Abortionist's Daughter). And in mysteries, the person just has to fall in love with their partner because there are no want-able, single people outside the bubble of their actual workplace. But color me surprised by thinking that this romance between Patrick and Angie...actually worked. I could see why these characters would be attracted to each other and that particular subplot was [gulp:] kinda, sorta, my favorite part. This book basically has me questioning where exactly did my life get off track that I'm enjoying a romance subplot where I previously never enjoyed one before. That's a bit life-affirming. Still, I'm hoping it was a one-off.

Anyway, A Drink Before the War was a pretty good mystery. Sure the mystery aspect wasn't as dark as I like them and I found it a bit lacking (hence the four star rating and not five star), the characters are ultimately what made me enjoy this as much as I did. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about these characters.
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Reading Progress

May 28, 2010 – Shelved
May 28, 2010 – Shelved as: mystery
May 28, 2010 –
page 20
Started Reading
May 31, 2010 – Shelved as: e-books-i-ve-read
May 31, 2010 – Finished Reading

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