Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
Recommended by Jana Beck
Library Technician, Spring Valley Branch
I love this author’s Boston, even though the main character is sent to Florida midway through the book to run his crime boss’ rum running business. Set in the Prohibition era, I really enjoyed the language: men are “swells” and fedoras are a necessity, not an accessory. Joe Coughlin is a policeman’s son, a young man who fancies himself an “outlaw,” not a gangster. He quickly loses his innocence when an independent job goes bad and he is sent to prison. Like my obsession with Irish crime novels, when characters get beaten in Boston, they get so beaten it’s a wonder they survive. Such happens to Joe, by his first crime boss and then at the hands of his father’s police cronies. Throughout the book, Joe has so many brushes with death you wonder how many times your own heart can stop in terror before the book finally finishes – but you’ll discover the characters live forever in your mind. I haven’t set down a book by this author yet without enjoying myself thoroughly, heart palpitations or not!