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Live by Night: A Novel by Dennis Lehane

Live by Night: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Dennis Lehane

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7074913,366 (3.81)28
Title:Live by Night: A Novel
Authors:Dennis Lehane
Info:William Morrow (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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Live by Night by Dennis Lehane



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English (45)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (49)
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Joe Coughlin began his life as a petty criminal in Boston during Prohibition, but he rises to a position of importance in the organization. He becomes a crime boss in Tampa and then Cuba, transitioning to other activities as Prohibition ends. This book continues the family saga begun in The Given Day. Joe is a complex character who willingly chooses the life he leads, but also persists in thinging of himself as an "outlaw" rather than a "gangster", thus trying to preserve a moral core to his life. ( )
  gbelik | Aug 7, 2015 |
A classic prohibition gangster tale, masterfully told.

As a reader, I enjoy a lot of fun junk food. But occasionally I'll enjoy a nice steak dinner. This book is one of those.

Incredibly plotted, paced and characterized this book about a Boston Irish gangster in the 1920's through the 1930's follows the now classic gangster path but with a few new twists.

No doubt it will be adapted sometime down the road, although it will be tough to do.

Highly recommend. ( )
  dham340 | May 10, 2015 |
While Joe Coughlin is the son of a Boston Police Captain, he has long turned his back of being a moral citizen. Joe has graduated into petty crimes to high paying robberies. But when he robs a speakeasy of a Boston mobster things change for him. When the mobster kills Joe’s love, Emma, he becomes obsessed with seeking revenge. Joe works up the ladder of organised crime till he is in the right position to take his revenge. But taking on a rival family is never so simple. This is the basis of Dennis Lehane’s latest crime novel Live by Night.

Most people know I’m a huge fan of pulpish and organised crime novels so I was really interested in checking out this novel. My first attempt of Dennis Lehane with Mystic River didn’t go too well but I was excited to give him another go, simply because the premise of this book sounded really good and the idea of reading a crime novel set in the prohibition era really enthused me. This book started out strong. I really liked Emma the love interestand was very sad to see her get killed off; I was ready to seek revenge too. The revenge aspect and the becoming a powerful mobster were really good but then you get half way through the book and it falls flat. Almost like Dennis Lehane had changed his mind of what type of book this is and switches genre. Without giving too much away I was disappointed with the change in style and although there are some great crime elements later on it just felt a bit odd.

I loved the characters in this book and this was my biggest worry because with Mystic River I felt they were a bit flat and one dimensional. I think it was interesting to hear that Lehane wrote another book called The Given Day which is based around the same family but focuses on a different character; I believe its Joe Coughlin’s brother. Even if they seem to be connected, Live by Night does a great job of developing the characters without having to read the other book.

I’m a little disappointed that this book had so much potential but the last part of the book fell short. Personally I think this book could have ended a lot earlier or cut out the parts that weren’t working. Lehane was trying to develop the characters a bit more in the sections that weren’t working but in my opinion they didn’t help the novel. There are some great elements in this book and overall it was an enjoyable crime novel. I think I will have to check out The Given Day and some more Dennis Lehane novels based on my experience with this one.

Review originally found on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2012/10/02/book-review-live-by-night/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Apr 28, 2015 |
I love books by Dennis Lehane. They are exciting stories with characters you become interested in. Jo, the main character, is basically a nice guy but he has chosen a way of life where bad things sometimes have to be done. The price he pays for his criminal deeds is ultimately too much for him to bear.
Sad ending but it couldn't have been otherwise. ( )
  scot2 | Feb 14, 2015 |
For people who are fans of "Boardwalk Empire", then this book is for you. The main character, Joe Coughlin, is the son of a police commissioner in South Boston. Joe and his two best pals, Dion and Paolo, form their own little crew during the Prohibition years. They embark on a series of petty crimes and stick ups. Joe falls for one of the Boston bosses mistresses - the cold as ice Emma Gould.

After disappointing his father during a bloody stick up attempt that was foiled by a traitor, Joe does some time in the prison in Charlestown. A series of events ends with Joe becoming part of the Mafia and being sent to Tampa, Florida to become a very profitable rum runner.

This is where the story truly begins as Joe creates alliances with Cuban Freedom Fighters, Italian Mafiosi and Spanish and Latin gangsters and outlaws. They take on and pocket crooked politicians, cops, councilmen and businessmen. They stave off rival organizations as well as a very active Ku Klux Klan and religious zealots and teetotalers.

The story flows beautifully and the characters are excellently drawn. As well, for fans of the early days of the mob, there are nods to Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky who controlled most of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. The nightlife in Tampa is well explained - speakeasies, illegal gambling, Cuban social clubs and the like.

Like Boardwalk Empire, Lehane shows consistently throughout the book how bad money can do good things and create infrastructure where poverty previously existed and how good money isn't always as pristine as it seems. When I picked this book up, I expected it to be a lightweight read that I would be able to pick up and put down between other books I was reading. The story was so well done and so riveting that it only took me two days to read it.

This is my first Lehane novel but it will definitely not be the last. He is the author of Mystic River which I really enjoyed as a movie and if this book is anything to go by, I expect the novel to be even better. Highly recommend this read but be prepared to be unable to put it down! ( )
  ozzieslim | Feb 13, 2015 |
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Men of God and men of war have strange affinities.  -- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
It's too late to be good.  -- Lucky Luciano
For Angie
I'd drive all night...
First words
Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin's feet were placed in a tub of cement.
"When she found his eyes, hers were fuller and sharper, lit with something that had entered the world centuries before civilized things." - pg. 19

"The people we service?" Tim said more than once. They visit the night. But we live in it." - pg. 22

" 'Crazy' isn't love," his father said.
"No, what is it?"
"Crazy." - pg.86
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Book description
(from the book jacket)
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 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.
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In 1926, during the Prohibition, Joe Coughlin defies his strict law-and-order upbringing by climbing a ladder of organized crime that takes him from Boston to Cuba where he encounters a dangerous cast of characters who are all fighting for their piece of the American dream. By 1926, 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, defies his proper upbringing and his father's strict law-and-order orthodoxy. Graduating from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city's most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the riches, 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 can be trusted. For men like Joe one fate seems more likely than all others, an early death.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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