Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: Dennis Lehane's World Gone By

Dennis Lehane's new book, World Gone By, makes it's debut today. This Soprano-esque novel follows Lehane's mobster protagonist, Joe Coughlin, first introduced in The Given Day and again in Live by Night. If you haven't read the first two books in the trilogy, I'd start there so you can get the full story from the beginning. 

In World Gone By it's 1943 and Joe Coughlin's mobster world, straddling Miami and Cuba, is a complicated one. Especially when he tries to reconcile his life in the mafia managing multiple delicate work situations while he attempts to raise his young son, Tomas. 

The book starts out with a journalist examining photograph of many powerful people, many of whom are dead. Joe Coughlin is in that photo, which is unusual because he's gone out of his way to stay out of limelight now that he's started a new life and toned down, but not stopped, his mob work. 

He's still in the mob, but has taken a role that let's him be halfway in and halfway out and supposedly keeping him away from the violence. But there wouldn't be a story there, if the danger didn't find him. That danger is even more pronounced now that Joe has Tomas. 

Along the way we met many crime loving characters, but perhaps the most charismatic is Teresa Del Frisco, even though she spends her time the book in jail for hitting her husband in the head with a croquet mallet. That doesn't stop Teresa from creative problem solving from the slammer and making sure Joe is working along side her. 

There is a lot of violence in this book - more so than Mystic River or any of the Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie books. So if that's not your thing, don't pick this one up. If you like mobster stories, where the moral lines are messy, and well-built complicated characters, you'll love this book. You can decide for yourself if you want to give it a try by listening to an audio recording of the first chapter of World Gone By here

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