With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro—brilliantly showcasing the unique voice and dark, exhilarating vision of a crime fiction phenomenon.
©1994 Dennis Lehane (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
First of all, I love Dennis Lehane's books "Shutter Island" and "Mystic River". I did not previously know about the private detective series he wrote centering around Kenzie & Gennaro. The city of Boston (working class section) is almost the third character in the story. I really loved both main characters and worried about them throughout the story -- and believe me, it got scary at times. I look forward to reading all of these books in order. So glad that you can count on Audible to carry the full series. Jonathan Davis did a really good job narrating. He was an excellent choice for how I imagined the voice of Kenzie. Read this series in order, but start soon. My time was well spent listening to this audiobook.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
Published in 1994, this is mostly about race relations and the politics of the 70's and 80's.
Remember the Cordovia, Grenada and Chevette. They are here along with cops riding in Crown Victoria's. Race is a huge topic in this book. It is also filled with lots of macho talk from cops, private eye's and gang members. The war in the title refers to a gang war.
The book is also fairly political and like all Lehane novels it takes place in Boston. Some authors know how to get my attention and hold it and Lehane is one of them. This is my sixth book of his and they have all been good to excellent. I am normally not a mystery or detective fan, but I do like the writings of Lehane and Gerritsen. His characters are cliche, but I love them anyway. His characters are also similar to the girl with the dragon tattoo, in that they do not always do what is politically correct. Some may be a little appalled by some of there solutions to problems. This being the first in a series you should get it. I have listened to the third book in the series (Sacred) and it is even better.
The narrator is great.
My favorite DL books are The Given Day, Sacred and Shutter Island.
Bonus: Since this is a political book, I want to make a political statement. Recently I listened to an interview on NPR in which the host was interviewing a black leader over the shooting in Florida. The host made the statement that we have made no advances in race relations. I cringed. I agree that we still have a long way to go, but we do have a black president, is that not progress? I believe the host should read books like this, to remind him how it used to be. He will see we have made progress.
Top 50 of around 700 books in my Audible library.
The male and female PI partners have a great collegial relationship, but the story and the partners deal the possibility of a romantic relationship.
I love the way an accent helps create the setting.
Is there anything we can do to help Dennis Lehane to write faster?
Grew up during the last vestiges of the radio age. Loved 'The Shadow' and 'Green Hornet', etc. I prefer my own images of characters overTV
We all know words. We all have some talent in forming sentences. But the truly gifted can massage ideas and thoughts through words that grab your attention; making one wish that he could express himself as elegantly. Lehane knows how to do it.
Say something about yourself!
This is my first novel by Dennis Lehane. I liked his style. The story was good. The narration was very good. I can't find a reason to take off a star from either. I added another of his books to my wish list.
There was a freshness in the earlier books of this series, including "A Drink Before The War". Lehane wasn't so politically correct and it gave the books a sense of jeapordy and "anything can happen, anyone can be wrong".
No. Lehane steadily increases his injection of liberal politics with each successive book...to the point of absurdity and caricature. It becomes very condescending. Essentially, "A Drink Before The War" and "Gone Baby Gone" are the two best books in the series. The rest are just sub-par fillers.
This performer is AMAZING...until the last book of this series. For the earlier books, he has this cool, soothing, and strong voice...with only the slightest hint of an accent during the narration. It's the best vocal performance I've ever heard in audio books. Unfortunately, in the last book of this series...he bizzarely decides to thicken the Boston accent of the narrator. This sounds awful and needlessly pedestrian. In that last book, he's a pain to listen to.
No. The gang culture & dynamics depicted in this book were a stretch...even for the time period it was written in. Now, anyone who even vaguely knows anything about the hood and trap would laugh at how juvenile and dated the depiction is.
Dennis Lehane, an erudite mystery writer, and Jonathan Davis, a reader with a wonderful feel for the work, create a first rate piece of audio theatre.
I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books.
In the top third.
No. There is too much repetition. The book has many things to recommend it but it's not all that suspenseful. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to Dennis Lehane, but now I think I know. Mystic River was an amazing start, the movie truly one of the best I saw in the last century. The Kenzie-Gennaro partnership is good. Witty, plenty of sexual tension (which you know will never be resolved), but the other characters tend to be one-dimensional and kind of cartoonish within this genre. There's way too much of Patrick's macho swagger with the other tough guys. This is the kind of book that Elmore Leonard would cut down to about 100 pages; although, in truth, he would never write it. Too much padding. A very good sense of Boston, though. The same neighborhoods that Spenser hangs out in. Spenser, though, is terse where Lehane overwrites for no apparent reason other than to have as many pages as he can crank out, I am sorry to say.
I have listened to him before, although I can't remember specific books. He is great. He gives both Patrick and Angie very memorable voices. He actually is better than the material he is narrating, IMHO.
I am not really good at witty tag lines or eye-catching teases. I have much more fun casting actors for the roles. However, that was not the question.
I will definitely read more of the series, even though I have distinctly mixed feelings. Mr. Lehane can write up a storm, although he doesn't know when the storm should blow over. His sense of place is almost as good as James Lee Burke's, which is quite a compliment, I modestly say. There is a lot of wit here. The plot so far is actually the weakest aspect of the book. Kenzie and Gennaro are an interesting duo, and I would enjoy learning how they work as time goes on. Speaking of time, I hope these two do not get frozen in it. Some successful writers feel that their characters should never age. I dearly hope that Mr. Lehane does not fall into that trap. Mr. Lehane is no Thomas Perry, but he certainly write.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
A Drink Before the War is Book 1 to Dennis Lehane's superb Kenzie and Gerrano six book crime novel series. I especially like this book as well as Prayers for Rain which is Book 5 in the same series; all books in the series are excellent.
In addition to the Kenzie and Gerrano series I also recommend Lehane's Joe Coughlin books as well as the superb stand alone novel Mystic River.
Jonathan Davis is an excellent narrator and he does a fine job with this crime thriller.
Dennis Lehane has a very elegant way of turning a phrase, even in a gritty, edgy novel like this. His characters are real, flawed, not necessarily likable all the time, but with genuine emotions. The narrator has a lazy cadence to his voice that might be annoying if he were reading a third-person novel, but as Patrick (don't call me Pat) McKenzie, it works. I highly recommend for the non-squeamish listener who wants to feel like he's sitting in a Boston bar listening to Patrick tell this story over some beers.
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