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Live by Nightby Dennis Lehane
2013 Edgar Award for Best Novel
Synopses & Reviews
Boston, 1926. The '20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.
Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.
But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one — neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover — can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.
Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa's Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.
"Bestseller Lehane (The Given Day) chronicles the Prohibition-era rise of Joe Coughlin, an Irish-American gangster, in this masterful crime epic. While most hard-working stiffs are earning their wages by day in 1926 Boston, 19-year-old Joe and his friends live by night, catering to the demand for prostitution, narcotics, and bootleg alcohol. When Joe falls for a competing mobster's gun moll, he sets in motion a chain of events that land him in prison, with the girl missing and presumed dead. In the joint, Joe meets aging Mafia don Thomaso 'Maso' Pescatore, who becomes his mentor. On Joe's release, Maso sets Joe up in Tampa, Fla., as his point man. Years pass, and Joe creates a huge empire in the illegal rum trade. He marries Graciela Corrales, a fiery Cuban revolutionary, and eventually builds a life for himself in Batista's Cuba, soothing his conscience by doing good works with his dirty money. This idyllic existence can't last forever, though, especially in the night, with its shifting alliances and fated clashes. Lehane has created a mature, quintessentially American story that will appeal to readers of literary and crime fiction alike. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Lehane's novel carves its own unique place in the Prohibition landscape....This is an utterly magnetic novel on every level, a reimagining of the great themes of popular fiction — crime, family, passion, betrayal — set against an exquisitely rendered historical backdrop." Booklist (starred review)
"A standout writer." Los Angeles Times Book Review
"[Dennis Lehane] deserves to be included among the most interesting and accomplished American novelists of any genre or category." Washington Post Book World
"Live by Night is Crime Noir 101, as taught by the best of its current practitioners....A sentence-by-sentence pleasure. You are in the hands of an expert. And you'll know it." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Live by Night transcends the familiar and assumes an unimpeachable reality of its own....[A] meticulously crafted portrait of our violent national past." Washington Post Book World
From Gone, Baby, Gone to Mystic River to Shutter Island to The Given Day, the phenomenal Dennis Lehane has proven himself to be one of the most versatile and exciting novelists working in America today — whether hes breaking new ground with uniquely inventive psychological suspense, redefining the detective story, or bringing a bygone era to life with sweeping and masterful historical fiction. Hes back with Live by Night, an epic, unflinching tale of the making and unmaking of a gangster in the Prohibition Era of the Roaring Twenties. Meticulously researched and artfully told, Live by Night is the riveting story of one mans rise from Boston petty thief to the Gulf Coasts most successful rum runner, and it proves again that the accolades New York Times bestseller Lehane consistently receives are well deserved. He is indeed, a master (Philadelphia Inquirer) whose true literary forefathers include John Steinbeck as well as Raymond Chandler (Baltimore Sun). And, Boy, does he know how to write (Elmore Leonard).
About the Author
Dennis Lehane is the author of nine previous novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; and Moonlight Mile, as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, divide their time between Boston and the Gulf Coast of Florida.
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