Since We Fell (Lehane)

Since We Fell 
Dennis Lehane, 2017
HarperCollins
432 pp.
ISBN-13:
9780062129383


Summary
Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in.

In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.

Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.

By turns heart-breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best. (From the publisher.)



Author Bio
Birth—August 4, 1965
Where—Dorchester, Massachusetts, USA
Education—B.A., Eckerd College; M.F.A., Florida International University
Awards—Edgar Award (2); Shamus Award-Best First Novel; Anthony Award; Dilys Award
Currently—lives in Boston, Massachusetts


Dennis Lehane is an American author. He has written several award-winning novels, including A Drink Before the War and the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award-winning film.

Another novel, Gone, Baby, Gone, was also adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film. His novel Shutter Island was adapted into a film by Martin Scorsese in 2010. Lehane is a graduate of Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

Personal Life
Lehane was born and reared in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, and continues to live in the Boston area, which provides the setting for most of his books. He spent summers on Fieldston Beach in Marshfield. Lehane is the youngest of five children. His father was a foreman for Sears & Roebuck, and his mother worked in a Boston public school cafeteria. Both of his parents emigrated from Ireland. His brother, Gerry Lehane, who is two and a half years older than Dennis, is a veteran actor who trained at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence before heading to New York in 1990. Gerry is currently a member of the Invisible City Theatre Company.

He was previously married to Sheila Lawn, formerly an advocate for the elderly for the city of Boston but now working with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office as an Assistant District Attorney. Currently, he is married to Dr. Angela Bernardo, with whom he has one daughter.

He is a graduate of Boston College High School (a Boston Jesuit prep school), Eckerd College (where he found his passion for writing), and the graduate program in creative writing at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. He occasionally makes guest appearances as himself in the ABC comedy/drama TV series Castle.

Literary Career
His first book, A Drink Before the War, which introduced the recurring characters Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, won the 1995 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel. The fourth book in the series, Gone, Baby, Gone, was adapted to a film of the same title in 2007; it was directed by Ben Affleck and starred Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as Kenzie and Gennaro. Reportedly, Lehane "has never wanted to write the screenplays for the films [based on his own books], because he says he has 'no desire to operate on my own child.'"

Lehane's Mystic River was made into a film in 2003; directed by Clint Eastwood, it starred Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon. The novel itself was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, and France's Prix Mystère de la Critique.

Lehane's first play, Coronado, debuted in New York in December 2005. Coronado is based on his acclaimed short story "Until Gwen," which was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly and was selected for both The Best American Short Stories and The Best Mystery Short Stories of 2005.

Lehane described working on his historical novel, The Given Day, as "a five- or six-year project" with the novel beginning in 1918 and encompassing the 1919 Boston Police Strike and its aftermath. The novel was published in October, 2008.

On October 22, 2007 Paramount Pictures announced that they had optioned Shutter Island with Martin Scorsese attached as director. The Laeta Kalogridis-scripted adaptation has Leonardo DiCaprio playing U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, "who is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island." Mark Ruffalo played opposite DiCaprio as U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule. Shutter Island was released on February 19, 2010.

Teaching Career
Since becoming a literary success after the broad appeal of his Kenzie and Gennaro novels, as well as the success of Mystic River, Lehane has taught at several colleges. He taught fiction writing and serves as a member of the board of directors for a low-residency MFA program sponsored by Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. He has also been involved with the Solstice Summer Writers' Conference at Boston's Pine Manor College and taught advanced fiction writing at Harvard University, where his classes quickly filled up.

In May 2005, Lehane was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Eckerd College and was appointed to Eckerd's Board of Trustees later that year. In Spring 2009, Lehane became a Joseph E. Connor Award recipient and honorary brother of Phi Alpha Tau professional fraternity at Emerson College in Boston, MA. Other brothers and Connor Award recipients include Robert Frost, Elia Kazan, Jack Lemmon, Red Skelton, Edward R. Murrow, Yul Brynner, and Walter Cronkite. Also in Spring 2009, Lehane presented the commencement speech at Emmanuel College in Boston, Massachusetts, and was awarded an honorary degree.

Film Career
Lehane wrote and directed an independent film called Neighborhoods in the mid 1990s. He joined the writing staff of the HBO drama series The Wire in 2004. Lehane returned as a writer for the fourth season in 2006 Lehane and the writing staff won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2008 ceremony and the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay for their work on the fourth season. Lehane remained a writer for the fifth and final season in 2008. Lehane and the writing staff were nominated for the WGA Award award for Best Dramatic Series again at the February 2009 ceremony.He served as an executive producer for Shutter Island. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)



Book Reviews
Endlessly surprising.… [A] twisty tale.
Wall Street Journal

The surfeit of plot twists and emotional baggage are buoyed by Lehane’s hard-boiled lyricism and peerless feel for New England noir.
USA Today

With sharply acute characterization, this is classic Lehane.
Guardian (UK)

A pleasantly twisted character study and a love story.… Lehane is in command of what he’s doing.
Tampa Bay Times

Make no mistake, Since We Fell is crime fiction, filled with con men, murder, greed and revenge. But the love story gives this novel its heart.
Associated Press

Another winner from the author of Mystic River.… A raucous mix of lust, greed, and betrayal.
AARP Magazine

A ride you won’t want to miss.
New York Journal of Books


[An] expertly wrought character study masquerading as a thriller.… The book’s conspiracy plot doesn’t cut the deepest; it’s Lehane’s intensely intimate portrayal of a woman tormented by her own mind.
Publishers Weekly


[T]his narrative vehicle never veers out of control, and when Lehane hits the afterburners in the last 50 pages, he produces one of crime fiction’s most exciting and well-orchestrated finales — rife with dramatic tension and buttressed by rich psychological interplay between the characters. —Bill Ott 
Booklist


[P]lenty of intrigue, intricacies, and emotional subtleties..… What seems at the start to be an edgy psychological mystery seamlessly transforms into a crafty, ingenious tale of murder and deception—and a deeply resonant account of one woman’s effort to heal deep wounds.
Kirkus Reviews



Discussion Questions
(We'll add specific questions if and when they're made available by the publisher. In the meantime, use our generic mystery questions.)



GENERIC DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Mystery / Crime / Suspense Thrillers

1. Talk about the characters, both good and bad. Describe their personalities and motivations. Are they fully developed and emotionally complex? Or are they flat, one-dimensional heroes and villains?

2. What do you know...and when do you know it? At what point in the book do you begin to piece together what happened?

3. Good crime writers embed hidden clues in plain sight, slipping them in casually, almost in passing. Did you pick them out, or were you...clueless? Once you've finished the book, go back to locate the clues hidden in plain sight. How skillful was the author in burying them?

4. Good crime writers also tease us with red-herrings—false clues—to purposely lead readers astray? Does your author try to throw you off track? If so, were you tripped up?

5. Talk about the twists & turns—those surprising plot developments that throw everything you think you've figured out into disarray.

  1. Do they enhance the story, add complexity, and build suspense?
  2. Are they plausible or implausible?
  3. Do they feel forced and gratuitous—inserted merely to extend the story?

6. Does the author ratchet up the suspense? Did you find yourself anxious—quickly turning pages to learn what happened? A what point does the suspense start to build? Where does it climax...then perhaps start rising again?

7. A good ending is essential in any mystery or crime thriller: it should ease up on tension, answer questions, and tidy up loose ends. Does the ending accomplish those goals?

  1. Is the conclusion probable or believable?
  2. Is it organic, growing out of clues previously laid out by the author (see Question 3)?
  3. Or does the ending come out of the blue, feeling forced or tacked-on?
  4. Perhaps it's too predictable.
  5. Can you envision a different or better ending?

8. Are there certain passages in the book—ideas, descriptions, or dialogue—that you found interesting or revealing...or that somehow struck you? What lines, if any, made you stop and think?

9. Overall, does the book satisfy? Does it live up to the standards of a good crime story or suspense thriller? Why or why not?

(Generic Mystery Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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