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Live by Night: A Novel by Dennis Lehane (Review #2)

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

LIve by NightLive by Night by Dennis Lehane is a 2012 William Morrow publication.

At the age of thirteen Joe Coughlin began his ascension of the organized crime ladder. He was born the third son of Thomas Coughlin, a well-respected Boston police captain. Joe’s life of crime began by knocking off paper stands with the Bartolo brothers.

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At the age of twenty, Joe met Emma Gould during the robbery of a speakeasy owned by Albert White. Joe’s boss Tom Hickey and White were heated rivals in the bootlegging business. This was the turning point to Joe’s intensification into the gangster world. A world that was fueled by prohibition and the underworld of bootlegging. Joe was an excellent business man with a compassion seldom seen in a gangster. During this time, criminal gangs were rampant and ethnic prejudices ran high. Rumrunning prospered from the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, crawling with Irish and Italians, to the backwaters of Ybor City and Tampa Florida, with Cubans and Latino’s. Joe’s bootlegging and cigar businesses of Ybor became his life. But the mob bosses make the decisions and give the orders of how you live and if you survive. Read the rest of this entry »

World Gone By: A Novel (Joe Coughlin Series)by Dennis Lehane

World Gone By Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is the final book in a Lehane trilogy about Joe Coughlin and his life as one of crime’s top figures before and during the early stages of World War II. Although Joe is from Boston he now pretty much resides in Tampa where in many eyes he is a respectable businessman doing business with shipping, longshoremen, and other pieces of commerce.

In actuality he is a top gangster who has risen to his place just barely beneath Meyer Lansky, one of the era’s top mobsters. Joe is not down in the trenches anymore as he basically sits on the decision board of Commissioners for Lansky. However Joe has been involved so long that he knows all of the players and their areas of responsibility.

Joe’s wife died around the time of the birth of his son, Tomas, who Joe practically worships in his own way. He doesn’t want the boy to know everything but he does want him to never want for anything. Tomas is raised in amongst the gang members who he believes to be friends or relatives of his dad. Now Joe and Tomas spend their time somewhat split between Tampa and Cuba where Joe runs rackets under the knowing eye of Colonel Batista who is in charge of the island.

When the wife of the mayor of Tampa meets Joe at one of the in-crowd gatherings both seem to feel a special pull that she tries to put aside while Joe relishes the potential pairing. His hopes work out and they begin and then keep an affair going well under the eyes and ears of both the everyday world and that of the gangster world.

However there are problems in the mob on the level below Joe where several of his underlings (and former peers) are having problems as to who is charge of what types of crime and in what areas. No one seems to be happy with the changes that continue to appear. One of the most cantankerous seems to be some internal squabbling when a black leader pulls away the black side of town and sets up a separate gangland. What he is doing is not a problem for Joe as the job is still getting done and very well but it is a problem for one other boss especially. Joe works to hold that one down in his own way but in the meantime Joe gets some very distressing news.

Supposedly someone is planning to take Joe out! It appears to be slated for a specific date….Ash Wednesday. Joe begins living the life of one who expects to be shot at any time. As he works to find out who is behind this supposed attempt the battle within the entire Tampa gang seems to escalate.

Lehane has really constructed quite a tale and the detail with which he describes some of the action is breath taking. I can easily understand why this book is already ticketed for a movie. The scenes will be worth the price of admission without even considering the breath-holding the audience will be doing throughout the action. The description in particular of one killing event and that of a major gun are battle is truly worth reading the book for alone.

Not sure I am quite happy with the ending but I suppose it is fitting. What a great read!

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (Review #2)

Midnight Mile by Dennis LehaneReviewed by Allen Hott

The song Moonlight Mile written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards is used to aptly describe this Dennis Lehane mystery. “But I am just about a Midnight Mile down the road” pretty well sums up where the supposedly lost girl in the story is.

About 10 years ago Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro had worked as private investigators finding a four-year-old girl who had been kidnapped. Happily they were able to find her but then unhappily she was reunited with her mother who was worthless and the girl was actually worse off back home.

Since that time Kenzie and Gennaro had married and had a daughter of their own. Angie had become pretty much a stay at home parent while Patrick worked hard at finding steady employment. He was trying to get on with an agency which would afford him better benefits and stable income but that was not that easy.

One night out of the blue the aunt of the girl who had been kidnapped years ago called Patrick and told him that Amanda was again missing. Not for sure if kidnapped again or more than likely just a runaway. The aunt badgered Patrick into hunting for Amanda again because the aunt felt that Patrick should have known that the kidnappers years ago offered Amanda a much better chance at a good life than her own mother offered her. Read the rest of this entry »

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

Moonlight MileReviewed by Elizabeth Sheehan

The story takes place in the Boston, MA area. Twelve years earlier Amanda McCready was kidnapped. This was actually done by rogue police who then placed her in a loving home. She is found by PI’s Patrick Kenzie and his wife Angela Gennaro. Patrick insists on returning her to her mother Helene who to be honest is a poor example of a parent. He has always questioned his decision. Amanda now 16 along with her friend Sophie are now missing again. Patrick & Angela are again asked to investigate. Then a mystery begins with Patrick being beaten and his laptop taken by someone associated with the Russian mob. Read the rest of this entry »