Live by Night

Lehane, Dennis

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Live by Night
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.

ISBN: 0060004878
Characteristics: 401 pages ;,24 cm.


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Mar 24, 2015
  • Vincent T Lombardo rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I read to page 25 and then gave up. It was just not my cup of tea. Set during Prohibition, it was too much like historical fiction, which I do not like, but I also found all of the characters unlikeable. However, I really love most of Lehane's other books, like "Mystic River", "The Drop", and the entire Kenzie/Gennaro series, and I highly recommend those.

Oct 28, 2014
  • nannerl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A few pages in, I realized I'd read the book before, but by then I was hooked and read it again, it was that good. The world of criminals during prohibition is much like the world of traffickers today - all about greed, and living for the moment. Though today, they don't live as long.

Mar 07, 2014

Regrettably Lehane seems to have run out of steam with this one. The premise is fine but what should have been an historically based organised crime thriller just dissipates within irrelevant minutae. The implausibility of some of the plot development is also a strike against this otherwise gifted author.

Dec 29, 2013
  • AuntJane rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Read this for book group - I haven't read any of his books so expected nothing. It was a good read - definitely a beach book. As another reviewer mentioned, I thought the historical parts were most interesting; the characters I grew tired of.

Nov 04, 2013
  • abra92 rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

The first book by Dennis Lehane I've ever read which I didn't enjoy.

Jul 26, 2013
  • poppy2010 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A 'gritty' story of a dark era in American crime.
Well told, and with a romantic twist that has a sad ending.
Ranks with 'The Godfather'.

Jun 13, 2013

it's a nice follow up to Given Day, which is one the best I've ever read. The character development of Joe is what kept me turning pages more than the plot.

Jun 10, 2013
  • thunderingfox rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Well written mystery story of the development of a curiously likeable gangster during prohibition.

I read it over a period of a day as I couldn't put it down.

Feb 10, 2013
  • BlueHippo rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Not a book I can really recommend. After the first 100 pages or so, I just started flipping though the rest of the pages and reading a bit here and there. I got the drift and don't think I missed anything too important. I was very disappointed in the end. The book started at the end but it didn't end at the end. In other words, you never find out why the character is in the predicament in which you find him at the start of the story, or if, in fact, he is actually in that predicament at all! The writing style made me tired-the author spends paragraph after paragraph telling us minutia that we don't really need to enjoy the story. I have read other things by Lehane that were much better than this one.

Dec 26, 2012
  • mrsgail5756 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

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