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A Drink Before the War | [Dennis Lehane]

A Drink Before the War

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (609 )
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  •  
    L. O. Pardue Atlanta, GA United States 11-23-11
    L. O. Pardue Atlanta, GA United States 11-23-11 Member Since 2010

    I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.

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    "Great beginning to thriller series"

    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.

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 03-12-12
    Jan 03-12-12 Member Since 2009
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    "I love this author!"
    Where does A Drink Before the War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 50 of around 700 books in my Audible library.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The male and female PI partners have a great collegial relationship, but the story and the partners deal the possibility of a romantic relationship.


    What does Jonathan Davis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love the way an accent helps create the setting.


    Any additional comments?

    Is there anything we can do to help Dennis Lehane to write faster?

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avi Stachenfeld Berkeley, California USA 03-12-12
    Avi Stachenfeld Berkeley, California USA 03-12-12 Member Since 2014
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    "EXCELLENT READ; EXCELLENT READER"

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Indianapolis, IN, United States 03-01-12
    Teresa Indianapolis, IN, United States 03-01-12 Member Since 2014

    As a person with dyslexia, audio books give me the opportunity to "read" wonderful books that I would otherwise miss. Thank you for this fabulous service.

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    "Grritty and elegant"

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troutscout CA 11-29-11
    Troutscout CA 11-29-11 Member Since 2015
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    "What can I say - Lehane Is Great"

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-30-12
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 06-30-12 Member Since 2015

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

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    "White Bread"

    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.

    23 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 11-23-14
    Richard Delman San Francisco 11-23-14 Member Since 2013

    I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.

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    "Good, not great, but worth your time."
    Where does A Drink Before the War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top third.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Perry Hall 02-19-15 Member Since 2015

    Easy Writer

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    "Highly Enjoyable Potboiler on Beantown Backstreets"

    Excellent, suspenseful beginning to the series. Lehane was able to create magic mojo between partners Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro from the start, for a super 1-2 Irish-Italian P.I. punch, taking it to the Boston streets, dodging bullets, brawn and barbs from 2 black street gangs and some powerful politicians.

    This is a close 2d in the series to #4 "Gone Girl." I have criticized a couple of the other (particularly, #3) in the series as being too implausible and feeling forced. While the plot in #1 could be seen by some as far-fetched, it all seemed real and true to me.

    A highly enjoyable potboiler on the backstreets of Beantown.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley P. Valentine 02-02-15

    Ears picking up the slack so my eyes can work.

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    "Lehane doesn’t skip character for plot strategies"
    Any additional comments?

    I’m a big supporter of Dennis Lehane. He isn’t my favorite author. He’s a more than solid writer with this fine series behind him and a hand full of novels that are even better. I think his best is still ahead of him. For me, as it was for him and a lot of readers, it mostly began here. This novel. The plot isn’t the draw here. Mysteries are a dime a dozen and they’re boring. Even when you haven’t figured them out, it’s annoying to be aware of how hard they’re trying simply to spring an illusion on you. What sets Lehane apart from so many other writers is not just the tactile feeling from the world he creates, but the characters. We know that already. Nothing new in me saying that. However it’s the specialness in the bond between Angie and Patrick that makes me buy the Audible version of this book, which I already read like seven years ago. I’ll probably guy the whole Audible series because I’m a collector, a completist, a dash of sucker, and most of all a supporter of Lehane. And I miss Angie and Patrick.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bubba Gazinski NJ, United States 03-05-12
    Bubba Gazinski NJ, United States 03-05-12 Member Since 2015

    bg

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    "Great book - great narration"
    What did you love best about A Drink Before the War?

    The narrator and the story. You get to know the characters, and the protagonists are likeable even if a bit flawed due to the calamities of life -> much of the underlying theme of the book is about the way things are and how they effect us. Great suspense and story.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes. Lost of twists and turns. And not a bit of


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet.


    Any additional comments?

    My negatives were that it preached a bit much about the unfairness of racism. The points were well made - just overdone and a little out of context. This didn't get in the way of my enjoyment too much.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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