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This review is from: Live by Night (Hardcover)
"Why should I fear in the days of evil,
When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?
Those who trust in their wealth
And boast in the multitude of their riches,
None of them can by any means redeem his brother," -- Psalm 49:5-7 (NKJV)
Throughout the book Joe Coughlin concerns himself with whether he's operating as an outlaw or as a gangster. While that distinction was important to him, it actually makes little difference in the rough-and-tumble world of Prohibition. Dennis Lehane does a good job of making Prohibition seem real to us who are at such a remove from it.
I loved the writing in the book about Joe Coughlin's time spent in prison. I can hardly imagine better writing about that context in that era. The writing about Coughlin's new life in Tampa didn't appeal to me nearly as much, but it was certainly adequate for moving along this deeply ironic story. Since many people don't like ironic novels, some will probably grade the book down for that. I thought the irony added quite a lot to the story, especially in that Coughlin was insensitive to many aspects of how ironic his circumstances and life were.
I think you'll have fun with this one if you like crime novels.