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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ
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...
Published on 24 Oct 2012 by Alexander Bryce

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Below Par Lehane
Being a big fan of Dennis Lehane's I was really looking forward to reading this book, especially as it was billed as a sort of sequel to The Given Day, which I really enjoyed. However I must admit, although I did enjoy it, I felt it was a bit predictable and it read more like one of those formalistic, big blockbuster novels and although the settings were different, I felt...
Published 21 months ago by Rosscumming05


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ, 24 Oct 2012
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live by Night (Hardcover)
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. I read the 400 plus pages in no time as the exciting story line drew me relentlessly from page to excellent page. I have anticipated a follow up to The Given Day for a couple of years and please believe me it was well worth the wait.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lived up to expectations, 8 Oct 2012
This review is from: Live by Night (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Going over to the dark side, 19 Sep 2012
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live by Night (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.

The themes in Live By Night are strong, brilliantly handled and well integrated into the storyline, but they are also universal and relevant to today - fathers versus sons, God versus greed, institutionalised crime versus the bootlegger, fighting for a national cause or fighting for your own right of expression, the right to make your own choices and live or die by them. Live By Night is all about the rules and who makes them. In the introduction and then the repealing of Prohibition you have that blurring of the lines of the law and morality, dictated by those who make up the rules and change them to suit their own interests. It's why Joe doesn't accept what he calls the day-time rules, but lives by the night rules, and this theme underpins the whole work, making it no less relevant in the current economic climate of banking scandals. This is brilliant period crime writing, but it's also just great writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suffers in comparison to The Given Day, 1 Aug 2013
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live by Night (Kindle Edition)
I read this immediately after finishing The Given Day and I have to say that it suffers in comparison. Not as richly textured or ambitious, this book is more a run of the mill "gangster" novel, albeit set in a novel location with some characters that are not necessarily of the Sicilian stereotype, although it has to be said some still are. However, in comparison with other thrillers this is still head and shoulders above most, an excellent page turner that does fulfill the "just one more chapter" brief, it's just not as good as his previous book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back on Terra Firma, 5 April 2013
This review is from: Live by Night (Hardcover)
The Given Day and Mystic River are two of the great pieces of crime writing of the last 20 years, but Dennis Lehane's last novel, Moonlight Mile wasn't nearly in the same class. Live By Night sees Lehane back on terra firma with a gangster novel picking up where The Given Day left off. Packed to the brim with mobsters, molls, moonshine and murder, this is another tour de force of crime writing which puts Lehane back at the top of his game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 17 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Live by Night (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live by Night, Die by Day, 19 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Live by Night (Paperback)
Dennis Lehane is one of the greatest authors ever—past or present—and no one else’s opinion on the matter is valid. It’s the truth. The man is a beast with a pen. He wields his words like weapons of mass destruction.

Live by Night carries on from The Given Day (as the second in a proposed trilogy), albeit with different characters and set many years later. It’s the story of Joe Coughlin—a small-time outlaw—and it follows his life as he falls in love, commits crimes, messes up monumentally, and struggles to come to terms with the type of person he is and the type of life he’s leading. The novel takes place over a number of years, primarily during The Prohibition Era, and chronicles Coughlin’s rise to the top as he moves deeper into the gangster lifestyle. He soon runs into trouble—and those troubles gradually swell and grow and eventually converge in a bloody climax.

It’s a strong novel, as was The Given Day, with likeable and authentic characters, an engaging plot, page upon page of witty and realistic dialogue, and a satisfying conclusion.

If you haven’t read Lehane before, I’d recommend starting on Mystic River—my personal favourite of his—but that’s not to take away from this novel at all; it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. I just think Mystic River is more accessible to the average reader. If you like an epic, however, this is worth your time and effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Boston To Tampa To Cuba, 23 April 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Live by Night (Hardcover)
'Live By Night' is the second in a series following the Coughlin family from Boston. The first book, 'The Given Day', follows the Coughlin family in Boston post World War, politics and baseball. This was a terrific novel and a great departure from Dennis Lehane's previous books.

This novel follows Joe Coughlin during Prohibition. Prohibition was a fabulous time in our history, full of gangsters, hitmen, G-Men, dangerous women, and one of the first times that women were shown to be loose and amoral. Look where we have come! Joe does not follow his father in the Police Department, but instead chooses a life of crime. He is attracted to the dark side, the danger, away from the moralizing of his family, and he wanted to make his life his own. He meets a young, beautiful bar waitress who turns out to be the girlfriend of Boston's biggest gangster. He finds out that crime doesn't pay, the hard way. He ends up on the rum routes between Florida and Cuba. A new love enters his life, a tragic bit of romantic adventure. Joe is a terrific character, the novel is full of twists and turns, but does not meet the high standards of the previous novel

There was something missing in this novel. It was a good story, but not captivating. Since this is a series, it will be fascinating to see what and who will be the next subject. Because this is Dennis Lehane, I have great respect for him and his writing.

Recommended. prisrob 04-23-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF, 28 Mar 2013
By 
Red Rock Bookworm (St. George Utah USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Live by Night (Hardcover)
Once again, best selling author Dennis Lehane delivers a hard-hitting tale of betrayal, duplicity, survival and murder with his fictional odyssey through the life of Joe Coughlin, son of a Boston cop who works his way up the ladder from petty neighborhood criminal to head of a Florida rum running empire during the dangerous era known as Prohibition. This was a time where bullets flew and life was cheap as organized crime families fought for turf. With his latest offering he has taken his readers into a world of the men and women who LIVE(d) BY NIGHT as they struggled for control of a world where booze, illegal drugs and prostitution were big business, and only the wary and the strong survived. In this world there were no lasting friendships. Loyalties change on an almost daily basis and a healthy degree of suspicion, skepticism and cunning were the only way to endure and prevail.

Dennis Lehane has the unique ability to suspend time and preserve particular moments of our unique history as he has so clearly illustrated in some of his previous novels. With LIVE BY NIGHT he has welcomed us into his personal time machine and sent us back to a bygone era of barbershops and restaurants whose exteriors belied the speakeasies and brothels hidden within, whose police departments and politicians engaged in backdoor deals and were dirtier than most mobsters they publically condemned, and where certain members of the "criminal element" were often more magnanimous and noble than their "honest" counterparts.

The reader is quickly drawn into this amazing tale that in many ways mirrors the problems of terrorism, immigration, joblessness and a teetering economy that are afoot in our country today. Lehane has taken these, added the criminal element and a tale of unrequited love, to create an authentic and audaciously conceived cast of characters who jockey for position as they search for their individual version of the American Dream. 4 1/2 Stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Below Par Lehane, 22 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Live by Night (Kindle Edition)
Being a big fan of Dennis Lehane's I was really looking forward to reading this book, especially as it was billed as a sort of sequel to The Given Day, which I really enjoyed. However I must admit, although I did enjoy it, I felt it was a bit predictable and it read more like one of those formalistic, big blockbuster novels and although the settings were different, I felt I'd read a similar stories before.
The novel follows the criminal career path of Joe Coughlin, one of the brothers from The Given Day, from the mid 20's, through the Depression, to the mid 30's. Joe, originally from Boston, earns a place in the Pescatore family and is moved to Tampa to oversee the bootlegging and speakeasy businesses during the prohibition era. Without giving too much of the story away Joe has an arch enemy who always returns to haunt him and there are also a couple of women to complicate his life. There are also cameo appearances from his father and brothers.
The other thing that slightly annoyed me was that Lehane has tried to make Joe, a gangster, or outlaw as he describes himself, with a conscience. Obviously he thinks this will make him a more sympathetic character and more acceptable to his readers. Myself, I would have preferred it if Joe was a bit more ruthless but then again that would have significantly shortened the story !
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Live by Night
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (Paperback - 6 Jun 2013)
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