Live By Night, by Dennis Lehane

Here is what happens in the first quarter of this book, which is set in prohibition America: Joe, a policeman's son, is a minor criminal with his sights on the big time. In the course of a robbery he falls for a girl who turns out to be the lover of Albert White, an organized crime boss. They begin a secret affair, and plan to escape the city but just before they do, Joe is involved in a robbery which goes wrong and finds himself wanted for the murder of three policemen. On the run from this, he's caught by Albert, who tortures and nearly kills him, only to escape when the police (including his father) turn up - to give him another beating before arresting him. Joe finds himself in prison, and endures several attacks until he's befriended by someone who turns out to be Albert's rival...

That was three CDs worth of this twelve CD audiobook, and it was fantastically gripping stuff, but I had trouble believing, when CD four was announced, that so much had happened, so I noted it down. The rest of the book was a bit less action-packed than this, but it was still brilliant, detailing what happens to Joe when he eventually gets out of prison.

Joe is a very sympathetic character: even though he's criminal through and through, he's "cruel but fair", and is aware of his sins and does attempt to make reparation for them.

This felt quite a lot different from Mystic River: and I'm not sure that's purely down to the setting and reader (not Richard Ferrone this time) - the writing style seemed a bit more hard-bitten. Or maybe it was the setting - I kept being reminded of LA Confidential and perhaps am seeing the book in that light, rather than as a Prey story.

This was a book I couldn't wait to listen to - I can't understand why I've not come across Dennis Lehane before, so will be looking for more by him.

Completed : 19-Feb-2013 (audiobook)

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