Top positive review
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A book about choices, and sacrifices
on 7 June 2011
This isn't the smoothest of reads - it took a couple of hundred pages before the storylines started to really come together, and I found myself feeling a bit disappointed, as well as reading the words without taking them in at times (it's something that really irritates me about myself), but that's not to say that those pages were unrewarding - Dennis writes with very theatrical, broad strokes here, and the language he uses here is vivid and dense.
At first, I found the detail a bit distracting, and the presence of Babe Ruth a bit off-putting for some reason; I still wonder quite what he was doing here in this novel... what is his significance to Lehane? I have my theories, and I'll bore my missus with them rather than go into the details here. Once the characters started to come alive though, the operatic quality of the plot structure comes to life as well. You've got all kinds of beautifully-drawn characters here, proper heroes and villains (Dennis doesn't muck around), and as long as you're prepared to suspend your disbelief at the start, and be willing to wait a bit to get into a great story, then you'll find this book quite an immersive experience.
Ultimately, this was a story about coming to the crossroads, and making choices that define who you are. It reminded me of watching a TV series; I had to accept that it would take me two or three episodes to really get into it. It was well worth it, but regular Lehane readers should be aware that it's really quite a different type of book from his usual. I'm still thinking about it, so it's definitely been a good experience.