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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    324
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    114
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    36
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    14

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    64
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Engaging but cliched

An easy listen - not much heavy thinking involved - and the narrator did a terrific job capturing the characters and their varied accents. The book itself was a rather cliched collection of gangster-type characters and adventures, but the story was entertaining and easy to follow. Was glad to have a respite from the sometimes-heavier tone of Lehane's books, but still forgot about this one pretty much immediately after I'd finished it, unlike his other books, which lingered with me for awhile.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The movie brought me in!

Saw the movie on Foxtel and wanted to know ow more. The narrator kept me interested through the journey.

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A heartbreakingly lovely story.

I'm a Lehane fan and have read most of his books. This is a departure for him as far as timing of the story, but it shares his usual poignancy. I enjoyed it, but it is definitely a bit haunting.

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I didn’t enjoy it

I put the book down for a few months. When I picked it back up it still didn’t impress me. I liked the character Joe but he always reminded me of Some all knowing comic book character or something: super smart seeing through most of the double crosses, giving back to the communities, all my violent action is retaliation. The way it wrapped up most of the characters was silly, except for His best friend. That was entertaining and caught me off guard.

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  • Karen
  • Rochester, MI, United States
  • 08-15-17

Did not like

This book was a common book I felt I read it a hundred times. I am sorry I stayed with it thru 23 chapters.

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Stick it out till the end

Not so original (think Floridian Godfather with the family tradition & intricacies) but sweeping enough to get caught up in.

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Worth a listen for sure

Even though I wish this had been a full continuation of all characters from the first book, it was a very engaging and great story on its own.

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  • Hunter
  • Huntsville, AL, United States
  • 05-29-17

Great Book

Sometimes the book is better than the movie and in this case spot on. Watch and read you will enjoy..

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Not so good

Would you try another book from Dennis Lehane and/or Jim Frangione?

Probably bot

Would you recommend Live by Night to your friends? Why or why not?

No, it was slow and kind of boring

Which scene was your favorite?

When his wife died at the end

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

It was narrated well, but it was kind of boring