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A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane

>> Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane

Genre: Mystery/Detective
Series: #1 in Kenzie/Gennaro series
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 267
Source: Library ebook

The Short Version:
It’s a great first in a series with an interesting Private Investigation team who take on the politicians, criminals and the cops.

Why I Read It:
I’ve heard good things about Lehane’s books for years, but never got around to reading any of them. Since I’m incapable of reading any series out of order I had to start with this one.

The Book:
Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have known each other since school. Partners in a Private Investigation business, they’re likeable, smart-mouthed, tough and best friends. Their business relationship is complicated by the fact that Angela hasn’t left a husband that everyone knows is beating her up regularly. Brought up in blue-collar Boston, they run their business out of the bell tower of a church (trust me there is an explanation) but they’re not intimidated by powerful and wealthy clients.

They’re hired by a powerful politician to track down a cleaning woman he claims has stolen documents from his office and he needs those papers back. Finding the woman turns out to be as simple as Kenzie and Gennaro expect it to be, but then the whole job goes way off the rails pretty quickly.

Before it’s over it’s a mess of political corruption, gang wars, domestic violence, murder and pretty much everything that goes along with them. But through it all, the friendship and history they have that keeps the two investigators going in their efforts to do their job and also let justice prevail.

My Thoughts:
I have a few bookish friends who are in big trouble for not wrestling me to the floor and forcing me to read this book and start this series ages ago. This is just the kind of series I like. Protagonists that are both smart and smart mouthed as well as being tough as nails too. I loved that it is a male/female team. Yes there’s some romantic tension, Kenzie flirts with his partner relentlessly, but at the same time his own history lets him know that ultimately if she’s going to leave her abusive husband it’s going to be on her own terms and time. As a friend he struggles with that.

As investigative partners, they’re fun. The banter and humor is there, but the action and suspense are too. Parts of the story were somewhat predictable, but there were plenty of surprises along the way. Despicable villains and some fun secondary characters kept both the action and the dialog fun, scary and interesting.

I’m definitely looking forward to continuing with this series.

Rating 4/5


Jen Forbus 1/04/2011 7:08 AM  

Love this series! One of my favorites. I actually discovered it because Michael Koryta recommended it.

Lynne 1/04/2011 7:30 AM  

I've never heard of this series. Must get this book - it sounds terrific! Thanks for the heads-up.

Kay 1/04/2011 9:35 AM  

I need to read this series too. I have this book, but it's packed up right now. I've heard so much praise of it though. Thanks for the push to pick it up!

Eleanor 1/04/2011 1:46 PM  

I am just THRILLED to pieces that you have picked this series up. I apologize -- in spades -- for not making sure you'd not missed it, but I just couldn't imagine in my wildest dreams that you had overlooked it somehow.

FWIW, we had Dennis for a signing a number of years ago, and he is just one of the coolest guys ever.

Lesley 1/04/2011 2:32 PM  

If you're looking for another Lehane book, I highly recommend Shutter Island - it's a stand-alone novel and I thought it was a fabulous page-turner.

SuziQoregon 1/06/2011 8:45 PM  

Jen: I can't wait to continue with this series. I'm so glad I finally started it.

Lynne: Oh it's good. Hope you get as hooked as I am.

Kay: Glad I could give you a nudge. Hope you get the chance to read it soon.

El: I know why you'd presume I'd read it already - it's so much my typical type of read.

Les: I think when Shutter Island came out is when I first started noticing how many people who I trust for book recommendations like Lehane's work. I already have it on my TBR list.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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