Live By Night

by Dennis Lehane (Little, Brown) ISBN: 9781408703168

Dennis Lehane could write about a snail race and make it sound thrilling. He doesn’t though. The author of Shutter IslandMystic River, and A Drink Before the War is back. 

Joe Coughlin meets icy beauty, Emma Gould, when he is 19. He is a small time gangster and she is Albert White’s mistress. Joe knows he shouldn’t but he falls in love with her. They start an affair. It’s 1926 and prohibition is in full swing. Coughlin hates his father, Thomas, who is the Deputy Superintendent of the Boston Police Department. Everything he does is an act of rebellion.  A robbery goes terribly wrong. His friend dies, they say Emma is dead, and policemen have been killed. 

Joe ends up in prison where he survives when Mafia Boss, Maso Pescatore, makes use of his talents, and his father’s connections. Joe is eventually released, and moves to Florida to set up shop for Maso. He makes a new life, meets the beautiful Graciela, builds a small empire, and ends up in Cuba. 

The novel is peppered with pain, and bolstered with beauty. It is empty of clichés and full of storytelling. Lehane remains in a class of his own. 

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