Sandie's Reviews > Live by Night

Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
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's review
Aug 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-books, contemporary-lit, favorites, historical-fiction

Once again, best selling author Dennis Lehane delivers a hard-hitting tale of betrayal, duplicity, survival and murder with his fictional odyssey through the life of Joe Coughlin, son of a Boston cop who works his way up the ladder from petty neighborhood criminal to head of a Florida rum running empire during the dangerous era known as Prohibition. This was a time where bullets flew and life was cheap as organized crime families fought for turf. With his latest offering he has taken his readers into a world of the men and women who LIVE(d) BY NIGHT as they struggled for control of a world where booze, illegal drugs and prostitution were big business, and only the wary and the strong survived. In this world there were no lasting friendships. Loyalties change on an almost daily basis and a healthy degree of suspicion, skepticism and cunning were the only way to endure and prevail.

Dennis Lehane has the unique ability to suspend time and preserve particular moments of our unique history as he has so clearly illustrated in some of his previous novels. With LIVE BY NIGHT he has welcomed us into his personal time machine and sent us back to a bygone era of barbershops and restaurants whose exteriors belied the speakeasies and brothels hidden within, whose police departments and politicians engaged in backdoor deals and were dirtier than most mobsters they publically condemned, and where certain members of the "criminal element" were often more magnanimous and noble than their "honest" counterparts.

The reader is quickly drawn into this amazing tale that in many ways mirrors the problems of terrorism, immigration, joblessness and a teetering economy that are afoot in our country today. Lehane has taken these, added the criminal element and a tale of unrequited love, to create an authentic and audaciously conceived cast of characters who jockey for position as they search for their individual version of the American Dream. 4 1/2 Stars
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