Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book Review: A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR, by Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane
Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994
267 pages
Crime / Private Eye

A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR is Dennis Lehane's debut novel, and the first featuring P.I.s Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

Boston. Mid-1990s. When the cleaning lady at the State House goes missing on the same day as some sensitive documents, three politicians simply put one and one together. They figure the best chance at finding the woman and getting back what had been taken would be if they hired Kenzie and Gennaro for the job. Bringing in P.I.s keeps the police out of it, and unwanted attention is the last thing they want, or need. Not to mention, Kenzie's deceased father is something of a legend, a Hero firefighter who saved two kids from a burning high rise.

Problem is, no one told Kenzie or Gennaro exactly what the documents were. When they find the missing maid, technically their job is done. An easy payday. Unfortunately, Kenzie also wants answers. He smells a fish. The politicians remind him a lot of his father, and maybe that is why isn't satisfied with just doing the job he was hired to do. He wants to dig,and find answers to the new string of questions that keep coming to mind.

When it turns out the documents are actually gut-wrenching, compromising photographs, the focus of the entire case shifts. As Kenzie and Gennaro find them selves in danger at every turn. It isn't just the politicians after the "documents." There are two, major, rival gangs interested in obtaining the information. Bodies start piling up.

With an amazing cast of characters, from detectives, and journalists, to reliable crooks, and state resources, the taut thriller is an amazing read. While years ago I'd read Mystic River, and Shutter Island, I am mad that it has taken me this long to get back into Lehane's books. You know what though? I'm here now. And I am enjoying the reads!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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