Dennis Lehane's first book, "A Drink Before The War" is a really startling debut into thriller crime fiction. It's not that surprising if a first book is ever so slightly hesitant, perhaps because an author is feeling his way. That doesn't happen in "A Drink Before The War" - it's completely into its stride from just about the first page. I was expecting (and, to be honest, hoping) for the laid-back humour of Robert Crais and, to be sure, it was there but mostly subdued. No matter though; the story got up to speed within a page or two and from then on it didn't let up. Even the occasional and brief paragraph of philosophy, as Lehane stares moodily at American life, doesn't slow things up. If I have a mild complaint at all, it's founded on the relentlessly accurate (I think) description of Boston's highways and byways as private investigators Kenzie and Gennaro move around. For anyone living in Boston, or even slightly familiar with the city, the realism must be rewarding. Sadly, I've never been there but I certainly felt I had after I'd finished reading. Which means, I suppose, that the descriptions did just what they were supposed to do - pull me into the story. "A Drink Before The War" is a great read and well worth it.