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Live by Night | [Dennis Lehane]

Live by Night

Boston, 1926. The ‘20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.
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Publisher's Summary

Boston, 1926. The ‘20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa's Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.

©2012 Dennis Lehane (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (278 )
5 star
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3.9 (237 )
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4.1 (231 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 11-15-12
    Richard Delman San Francisco 11-15-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1805
    ratings
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    445
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    Story
    "Lehane shows off his skills."

    Dennis Lehane knows how to write. I wish he knew when to stop. The first half of this book is the former; the second half the latter. In Part 1 he sets up a good plot among a bunch of gangsters and prison inmates and crime families. There is a cherche the femme aspect of the plot, of course. There is a guy who controls his empire from inside prison walls. So far, so good, However, Part 2 becomes a giant cliche, with the bad guys blasting each others' heads off, along with deathless dialogue. The plot bogs down and sinks into the mire. We begin to forget who is who, and we begin to not give a sh...
    Lehane is capable of better than this. I think maybe the pressure to produce a "blockbuster" with each new book presses him to prove Mae West wrong: too much of a good thing is not
    great.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Boulder, CO, United States 10-06-12
    Christopher Boulder, CO, United States 10-06-12 Member Since 2010

    I am a co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and author of Gonzo Marketing: Winning Through Worst Practices, and The Bombast Transcripts.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    198
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    "bad narrator choice"

    Maybe it's great writing, though I doubt it; some of the lines were so hackneyed they made me laugh. This wasn't helped by Jim Frangione's melodramatic lilt, which made it all sound like a very bad SNL sendup. Maybe I'd have been able to take it seriously with another narrator, but not with this one.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troutscout CA 10-17-12
    Troutscout CA 10-17-12 Member Since 2007
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    "First 14 hours were great then"
    If you could sum up Live by Night in three words, what would they be?

    creative insightful wordsmith


    Would you be willing to try another book from Dennis Lehane? Why or why not?

    I read all of his books because they are delightful to read.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Pick one - the prison uprising or the feet of clay


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

    The devil drinks good rum


    Any additional comments?

    Horrible ending. Did he run out of words? Did the publisher say we gotta get this on the shelves?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Stone San Diego 10-05-12
    Andrew Stone San Diego 10-05-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Captivating Well Told Story"
    Any additional comments?

    Story had a good pace and was very well told. And really sucked me in.
    Never boring.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Silver Spring, MD, United States 03-12-13
    Stephen Silver Spring, MD, United States 03-12-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Perfect!"
    Would you listen to Live by Night again? Why?

    I don't generally listen to a book more than once but if I were one to do that, this would certainly be one I would read again.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't wait for his next book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Dumont, NJ, United States 11-04-12
    Linda Dumont, NJ, United States 11-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hits All The High Notes!"

    I have read all of Dennis Lehane's books and this is by far the best one yet! The black sheep son who becomes a seasoned gangster with love and "demon rum" along the way.
    Lehane elevates the story by taking it out of Boston and New York City and luring the reader to Tampa and Cuba where the unexpected await. I thought the narrator was very good...

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele SEATTLE, WA, United States 12-19-12
    Michele SEATTLE, WA, United States 12-19-12 Member Since 2009

    I'm a designer (interiors and graphics) with an English degree. I recovered my love of reading after a disastrous bout with grad school.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not for me"

    I have been reading laudatory reviews of Mr. Lehane's work for years, and have enjoyed listening to interviews with him on NPR. And I love gangster movies and noir thrillers. But this was just not for me. This book traverses a queasy tightrope between the sentimental and the horrific, with not much in between. When I wasn't annoyed at the tough-guy codes (concealing deep and lardy emotions), I was dreading the next revolting description of physical torture. At about hour two, I decided I just wasn't enjoying it: not the plot, not the characters and not the writing.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Staats Brentwood, tn United States 10-21-12
    Dave Staats Brentwood, tn United States 10-21-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The question I had about this one is GONE!"
    If you could sum up Live by Night in three words, what would they be?

    Wonderful pacing,characterization.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Live by Night?

    I can think of 5 or 6, but to have one SO close to the end that was so unexpected, yet fitting was great.


    What about Jim Frangione’s performance did you like?

    I liked everything about Jim Frangione's performance. What I did not like was a review that complained about his performance. One of my key measures (of over 500 titles) is how much/often I simply don't notice someone is reading/performing and simply get lost in the story. If not for the cruel, stupid review I saw elsewhere, I'd never have noticed him at all. It was a masterful job considering the size and scope of the story and the myriad characters and accents involved. I may go listen to something else he did just to check him out more. As a first listen, I have to give him 4 out of 5 GuidallStars.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many more than I expected. Probably 6 or 7 that would all be spoilers, I guess the first one was the near-opening scene of "feet in cement".


    Any additional comments?

    Dennis was close to having my "Prayer Review" One more like this and he gets it. (Yeah, I'm full of myself today but I have probably earned it.)

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BigDan 07-23-14
    BigDan 07-23-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    9
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    Story
    "Excellent story telling by Lehane"
    What made the experience of listening to Live by Night the most enjoyable?

    I'm not much of a period piece enthusiast but Lehane pulled it off here with a great story and an enjoyable story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darcy NAPLES, FL, United States 02-04-13
    Darcy NAPLES, FL, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    9
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    "Not all that impressed"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would not receommend this book to anyone except someone who's already a Dennis Lehane fan. I found it long and not terribly engaging.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Start over.


    What about Jim Frangione’s performance did you like?

    The narrator did a good job with the voices.


    Did Live by Night inspire you to do anything?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    We got this book to listen to on a long drive from Chicago to Florida, thinking it would be compelling. Not. We were both waiting to get really drawn in, but that really never happened. We finished it only because we'd put so many hours into listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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