Live by Night is Crime Noir 101, as taught by the best of its current practitioners.... Sophisticated, literary and barbed.... A sentence-by-sentence pleasure. You are in the hands of an expert. And you'll know it.
Janet Maslin - New York Times
Reduced to a bare-bones summary, Live by Night might sound like the sort of standard crime saga we've all encountered far too many times. In Lehane's hands, however, it becomes something larger and infinitely more complex. With its fresh, precise language, its acute sympathy for the passions that shape—and sometimes warp—its central characters and its lovingly detailed recreation of an earlier age, Live by Night transcends the familiar and assumes an unimpeachable reality of its own.... [A] meticulously crafted portrait of our violent national past.
Bill Sheehan - Washington Post
Bestseller Lehane (The Given Day) chronicles the Prohibition-era rise of Joe Coughlin, an Irish-American gangster, in this masterful crime epic. While most hard-working stiffs are earning their wages by day in 1926 Boston, 19-year-old Joe and his friends live by night, catering to the demand for prostitution, narcotics, and bootleg alcohol. When Joe falls for a competing mobster’s gun moll, he sets in motion a chain of events that land him in prison, with the girl missing and presumed dead. In the joint, Joe meets aging Mafia don Thomaso “Maso” Pescatore, who becomes his mentor. On Joe’s release, Maso sets Joe up in Tampa, Fla., as his point man. Years pass, and Joe creates a huge empire in the illegal rum trade. He marries Graciela Corrales, a fiery Cuban revolutionary, and eventually builds a life for himself in Batista’s Cuba, soothing his conscience by doing good works with his dirty money. This idyllic existence can’t last forever, though, especially in the night, with its shifting alliances and fated clashes. Lehane has created a mature, quintessentially American story that will appeal to readers of literary and crime fiction alike.
(Starred review.) Lehane’s novel carves its own unique place in the Prohibition landscape.... This is an utterly magnetic novel on every level, a reimagining of the great themes of popular fiction—crime, family, passion, betrayal—set against an exquisitely rendered historical backdrop.
The acclaimed mystery writer again tries his hand at historical fiction, combining period detail from the Prohibition era with the depth of character and twists of plot that have won him such a devoted readership. Though this novel serves as a sequel to The Given Day (2008), it can be read independently of Lehane's previous historical novel.... Its protagonist is Joe Coughlin, the morally conflicted youngest son of a corrupt Boston police official.... He ultimately builds a bootlegging empire in Tampa, backed by a vicious gang lord whose rival had tried to kill Joe, and he falls in love with a Cuban woman whose penchant for social justice receives a boost from his illegal profits.... Neither as epic in scope nor as literarily ambitious as its predecessor, the novel builds to a powerful series of climaxes, following betrayal upon betrayal, which will satisfy Lehane's fans and deserves to extend his readership as well. Power, lust and moral ambiguity combine for an all-American explosion of fictional fireworks.
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