Archive for November 3rd, 2014

An enterprising Boston criminal does well by doing wrong in ‘Live by Night’

November 3, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 3, 2014

Nearly two years ago, I read my first Dennis Lehane novel — The Given Day, Lehane’s sprawling 2008 tale of the well-to-do Coughlin family and their servants (one a black man, the other an Irish immigrant). I enjoyed the book tremendously, as did a relative of mine, who has since been consuming other Lehane works and passing them on to me.

Since then, I’ve read four other Lehane outings: the mystery Shutter Island, the Patrick Kenzie/Angie Gennaro detective novels Moonlight Mile and A Drink Before the War, and now Live by Night.

Live by Night, published in 2012, is a sequel of sorts to The Given Day. The book begins in Boston in 1926, six years after the advent of Prohibition. Young Joe Coughlin — the son of a prominent Boston police official — is working as an aide (and part-time muscle) for a local mobster. After a bank heist goes horribly wrong, leaving three cops dead, Coughlin is nabbed while trying to meet with his lover, Emma Gould, before skipping town.

Coughlin is sentenced to prison, where he falls in with another gangster. After several treacherous years behind bars, his new boss orders the about-to-be-freed Coughlin to take charge of the rum-running business in Tampa, Fla.

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