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Live by Night Paperback – 6 Jun 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0349123691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349123691
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 3.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Dennis Lehane's speciality is the fast-paced gangster thriller that's also a deeply felt novel. His latest, about a Boston criminal, doesn't disappoint on either count... I guarantee that all you'll be able to do is keep on turning the pages. The prose crackles with Chandleresque jokes, the narrative never flags and there's even a genuinely heart-stopping love story. In addition to all that, the book beautifully evokes the entire era of early Thirties Prohibition America (Readers' Digest)

This is a book that should put [Lehane's] name right up there where it belongs, right up there alongside Doctorow and Dreiser (Scotland on Sunday)

This is noir with added value: Lehane is terrific on family ties and at conveying the buzz of a city powered by immigrant labour of often dubious legality (Guardian)

History is merely a backdrop in a story that seeks just to be exciting, sexy and atmospheric. The author's trademark combination of dark deeds, graceful pose and sassy dialogue ensures it succeeds (Sunday Times)

Lehane's tough, muscular prose captures the era well; and his dialogue brings to life the inhabitants of its underworld (Spectator)

This is not just brilliant period crime writing, but brilliant writing full stop (Independent)

The crime writer's crime writer; with a spare, stark edge to his work that lifts it into the truly great class... The gangster world is superbly evoked and the story is as tight and powerful as the trigger on a Thompson sub-machine (Daily Mail)

Sophisticated, literary and barbed enough... it makes this book a sentence-by-sentence pleasure. You are in the hands of an expert. And you'll know it (Scotsman)

Exciting, sexy and atmospheric. Lehane's combination of dark deeds, graceful prose and sassy dialogue ensures it succeeds (Sunday Times)

Book Description

A major new standalone from the acclaimed author

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dennis Lehane writes two types of book: detective novels featuring Kenzie and Gennaro which are among the best of this genre and more serious work, bordering on the epic, and peppered with facts and actual people from the time and place in which they are set e.g. Shutter Island [to my mind his best yet] Mystic River and The Given Day. This his latest is a follow on from The Given Day and it would add about 5% to the enjoyment of Live By Night if The Given Day was read first. Having said that this is without doubt a fine stand alone novel set initially in Boston and ending in Tampa. For anyone aquainted with both cities there is a fascination in the historical development of both cities woven into the 1920s/1930s story lines.
A la Godfather the youngest sibling of the Coughlin clan turns out to be the most ruthless kicking against his corrupt , but publicly respected, police chief father as he claws his way up the gangster/outlaw pecking order. But always with a sense of concience which is unusual in his kind of "business". Young Joe meets during a heist a mysterious blond resulting in an explosion of sexual passion. This Emma however never totally gives herself to him and always at least mentally holds herself back. This added to his fascination to the point of addiction to her and caused Joe to briefly take his eye of the ball causing multiple death and Joe's incarceration. The description of his survival in prison is simply frightening but it is the gateway to advancing his career. To reveal more of the story would be wrong other than to say that there are a few surprises , twists and turns along his road to the top. There is violence, but these were violent times and it would be unrealistic to dilute this aspect.
This is quality writing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G. Waterman on 8 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I had never really got into Dennis Lehane until The Given Day which I thought was a masterpiece with great characters, wonderful plotting, historically accurate and the sort of book that just draws you into it.

Happily Live by Night, whilst not exactly a sequel but concentrates on the life and times of one of the minor characters from The Given Day ramps up the excitement levels even more.

Lehane is incapable of writing a clumsy or boring sentence and the book is a riveting account of gangster life in Prohibition times America and Cuba and sets the bar at an extremely high level.

He is not as well known this side of the Atlantic as he should be and I hope that this excellently written and exciting book gets him the exposure that he fully deserves.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
The underworld crime of gangsters in the USA of the 1920s and 30s, during Prohibition and the Great Depression, is a subject that's been done countless times before, as is the notion of fathers and sons on different sides of the law. There's nothing particularly new for Lehane either in the Boston Irish background of Joe Coughlin, a gangster with ambitions whose father is a high-ranking cop in the city (the novel standalone but following on from the post-WWI setting of The Given Day). There are questions of loyalty and family honour and, inevitably, there's a woman. Emma is the wrong type of woman, the girlfriend of Albert White, boss of the biggest organized crime gang in Boston. Joe should know better, but when has he ever done things the sensible way and followed the rules? Joe however makes one mistake too many, takes one job too far, and to compound the mistake, he goes back for the woman. And that's just the start of his problems.

It's an old story - you can see them polishing-up the film screenplay already - and it's one that works brilliantly on the page thanks to Lehane's clean, fluid prose and dynamic use of situations. The period, as you would expect, is convincingly seeped in atmosphere of the twenties and the thirties with enough glamour to make it an attractive crime thriller as well as enough strong character detail to give it heart and soul. If that's all you're looking for, Live by Night is a great read, filled with action, character and drama, delivering all the expected thrills of gangster activity during this period. The choice of period however reveals rather more depth if you want to look beneath the surface and it says a lot about the America of today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nick Rudd on 17 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have just finished this inside a week and as a fan of Lehane since the early Kenzie and Gennaro days, I have to congratulate the great man on another masterpiece. I was rather disappointed with Moonlight Mile, possibly because I looked forward to it so much, but this represents an absolute return to form. I had heard in advance that it was a 'spin-off' from his previous work The Given Day but that it would work as a standalone novel. That understood, I was delighted at just how much other characters from The Given Day were involved and how much resolution of their fate there was here. Live By Night covers a lot of ground and all the way through, the characters - main protagonist Joe Coughlin in particular - are as richly-drawn, the plot twists as stunning and the prose as eloquent and compelling as one would expect from this oustanding writer. A thoroughly thrilling and satisfying read in every way.
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