A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR by Dennis Lehane

A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR

Featured vintage review selection (week of April 22, 2013)
Note from Kirkus' Vintage Review Editor:

Dennis Lehane is a brilliant writer of mysteries and more recently, historical fiction. He almost always uses Boston, especially the grittier side of town, as a major character. His debut novel, A Drink Before the War, begins a five-book series (which should be read in order), featuring detectives Gennaro and Kenzie. It was strongly reviewed by Kirkus in 1994 and is just as fresh today. Thinking about Boston? Try Lehane.



KIRKUS REVIEW

Patrick Kenzie is a Dorchester, Mass., boy born and bred. Now, working out of a church belfry as a private detective (along with partner Angela Gennaro, who has been his best friend since childhood and suffers at the hands of an abusive husband), he is hired by a senator to locate some papers reportedly stolen by an African-American (the senator uses a less polite term) cleaning woman. When the woman is gunned down in downtown Boston, it becomes clear that the materials in her possession were not the government documents the senator had claimed. The sure pacing, humor, and clear sense of place are unusually strong for a debut novel. Lehane's depictions of working-class Dorchester and the great divide between its Irish-American and African-American inhabitants are so on-target the reader could practically use them as a map and drive right into town. Even better are the descriptions of local foibles. Kenzie recounts that a friend had once been successful at removing a Denver boot (a clamp, which makes it impossible to move a car, placed around a car's tire after too many traffic tickets) and was downhearted to find that it was a fluke and that he would not be "making more money than Michael Jackson." There is a lot of gun play here, and plenty of other violence too. Not only does Gennaro regularly come into work with black eyes, but Kenzie also recalls his firefighter father, a man whom he sarcastically refers to as "the Hero," but who was brutal in his own home. A lively debut about residents of the Boston metropolitan area who don't summer in Hyannisport.
Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0062049100
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1994




MORE BY DENNIS LEHANE

FictionLIVE BY NIGHT by Dennis Lehane
by Dennis Lehane
FictionMOONLIGHT MILE by Dennis Lehane
by Dennis Lehane
FictionTHE GIVEN DAY by Dennis Lehane
by Dennis Lehane

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieEXPERT WITNESS IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM by Morris S. Zedeck
by Morris S. Zedeck