When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car drove up their street. One boy got in the car, two did not, and something terrible happened - something that ended their friendship and changed the boys forever. Twenty-five years later, Sean is a homicide detective. Jimmy is an ex-con. And Dave is trying to hold his marriage together and keep his demons at bay - demons that urge him to do horrific things.
When Jimmy's daughter is murdered, Sean is assigned to the case. His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy, who finds his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice. And then there is Dave, who came home the night Jimmy's daughter died covered in someone else's blood. While Sean attempts to use the law to return peace and order to the neighborhood, Jimmy finds his need for vengeance pushing him ever closer to a moral abyss from which he won't be able to return.
©2001 Dennis Lehane (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
I hit a dry spell in finding new novels that would engage my interest. As a result, I started searching for notable American novels I missed during the height of their popularity. Mystic River shows up on every book critic’s top 25 lists of great American modern novels. Since I had not seen the movie, I gave it a listen.
It would be misleading to characterize Mystic River (MR) as a murder mystery or detective story. Any reader who watched more than three episodes of “Law & Order” will figure out the mystery of MR by the end of the fourth chapter. The value of MR comes in the author’s, Dennis Lahane, skills at making the reader feel the anguish of the characters and intensity of the storyline. MR is a dark serious drama devoid of humor. The three main characters carry a deep sense of misery and psychological trauma that cannot be conventionally expressed due the machismo cultural standards of South Boston. The culture of machismo results in a basic breakdown in social communication, isolation, rejection, and pointless death. Lahane expertly takes the reader into an insular community where most of us would rarely venture. MR is always moving toward the conclusion, where the reader feels a tension similar to watching a car speeding obliviously in the wrong direction of a busy one way street and waiting for the eventual crash. The drama of the book occurs as characters rush to judgments based on community standards and spurious information.
Although the audio book runs roughly 15 hours, every detail is important to understanding the eventual finale. The interplay between the environment and characters makes this book special. After completing the book I watched the film. MR the movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, is almost 100% faithful to the book in plot and tone. I recommend reading MR instead of watching the film to capture Lahane’s masterful writing. However, if you already watched the film, the book will lose much of its punch.
Listen to about four audio books a months. Never without one.
I love Dennis Lehane and have listed to several books narrated by Scott Brick. Neither let me down. Excellent narration. Excellent crime and psychological thriller. I thought the three main characters were well developed and I really got to know them. I had seen the movie and still I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this audiobook. It will stick with you a long time.
The writer caught my interest from the very beginning. I felt I got to know the characters well enough that I could empathize. Wondered what I would do if faced with their situations.
I do agree with another reviewer that I would have liked a stronger ending. It was not exactly out of "left field" or implausible, just not that satisfying. And, yes, I did want to know how everyone fared, but I felt the use of the prologue was a bit of a cop out.
All that said, I did enjoy the book and would recommend it.
I'm a reader (prefer audiobooks) and an author (middle grade fantasy/mystery). You can find me on Facebook as MJ Allaire. Read on!
Absolutely. I think this book was THE best book I've ever listened to! I first heard Scott Brick read The Passage (by Justin Cronin) and really enjoyed that, so his voice was familiar to me. I'd never "read" anything by Dennis Lehane but I had seen the movie Mystic River, a few times (it's also one of my favorite movies!) I'd NEVER really cared for Sean Penn until I saw him in this - he was fantastic!
So far I have no comparison. I love most of Stephen King's work as well as the Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child, but Mystic River just took that top slot for me. Now I'm looking into reading other books by Dennis - I want to know if he writes as well in his other books, and if he does, I'll be totally thrilled!
Yes. The Passage, by Justin Cronin. I think Scott is a fantastic reader. I think part of why I enjoyed listening to Mystic River was because I was already familiar with his voice and reading style.
All I can say is I really "felt" it. If the story is good, the reader should "feel" it.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story!
There is nothing better than a good book!
I was hooked! I love the twists and turns every Lehane novel has- and Scott Bricks narration was flawless! If you are looking for a thriller with non-stop action- this is it! Bravo!
but it’s too depressing for me - during and at the end. I’m looking for entertainment.
It’s a mystery with unexpected events and very full character development. I like the way the author writes about characters, their thoughts, decisions, dialogue. But I don’t like the downer element. I’ve read three books by Lehane. In all three books, horrible things happen to children. I grieve for that and other things. There is a lot of sadness here about life and society. I never smiled. I want more entertainment in my reading. I enjoy the Michael Connelly detective stories because I smile due to being surprised or impressed with what the guy does. But Lehane’s books don’t do that.
Early in the book a ten-year-old boy is kidnaped by pedophiles for four days. I was disappointed that we are never told what happened during those days. And then not enough was told about what happened to the pedophiles later. I wanted more details. I also wanted more details about the boy prostitute (later in the story) - what he did after a major incident and why.
Sadly I don’t like Scott Brick as a narrator. He comes across as cocky, arrogant, dismissive, and sarcastic. He brings those tones to his characters which makes me like the characters less. It’s hard to like a book when you don’t like the characters.
Genre: crime mystery
Loved the plot and characters in this story. Never saw the movie but may just to see if it's different from the book. Loved it!
When the characters actually take action or interact with each other, the writing and the story is quite vivid and gripping. But, the action stops repeatedly for long, internal, repetitive monologues that slow everything down to a glacial pace. Lots of lists, like "he missed her hair, the smell of her perfume, the curve of her waist, her light touch, etc., etc., etc" or he remembered these 12 things about his old neighborhood (lists them all). I suppose this is meant to give us insight into the characters. But, I didn't find the internal lives of any of these unsympathetic characters particularly compelling. Toward the end, I started using the skip-forward button repeatedly to get to a place where the characters "did" instead of "told." (Also, this is not really a spoiler since it's obvious in the first chapter, but I am really ready for authors to find something other than childhood sexual abuse as the "big secret" to drive their plots. Seems like a really stale plot device to me.) Narrator did a fine, very professional job -- but was occasionally overwrought for my taste.
Prize-winning Poet, Composer and Lyricist.
Somehow the movie of this book turned out cleaned up and polished. There is always a difference of course, between a book and a movie made from the same story.
This book details how a man (with later support of his "good" wife) justifies cold blooded murder of a childhood friend whom he sees as less-than because that man was abused by adults when he was a child. The author's treatment of Dave Boyle could not be uglier, and his fate could not be more cruel. Dave never becomes the monster he feels he is deep down inside, never does what haunts him. Not once. Yet, after the fact, his murderer thinks that Dave Boyle should have never returned from his kidnapping. Yeah, that's a good justification for murder: especially when there is nothing the man has done himself to deserve such a fate.
I suppose It illustrates that the sense of being "entitled" is not only in the rich and privileged - not that anyone needs a newsflash on that. Most crimes are ascribed to the poor whether they commit those crimes or not. So even this is not much to hang a compliment on. These are among the best things I can say about Mystic River, the book by Dennis Lehane.
However, the narrator Scott Brick really gives it every bit of emotion he can wring out in his voice. So much so that I could not pinpoint what I found so horrible about this book the first time I listened to it. I could feel it but could not identify it specifically. It took a second pass before I could see the total lack of any moral responsibility or lesson or even simple awareness or insight. The characters do not grow.
It's a sad tale, but the real rot is beneath the tale in the multitude of justification used by the main character and never pointed out for what it is: justification for 1st degree murder. The only murderer treated as a true murderer in the book is a mute thirteen year old boy.
The writing is not poor. It is good writing. Decent writing. The material and how it is presented is what I found lacking. My two cents of fair warning.
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