With A Drink Before the War, Dennis Lehane shows that he is a force in modern American Noir. The novel takes place on the mean streets of Boston—portrayed as a cesspool of racial tension, corruption, and grinding poverty—and follows two private investigators as they take on a missing-persons case that seems like it should be open-and-shut, but ends up putting them in the cross hairs (literally) of corrupt politicians and competing gangs.
A Drink Before the War starts out with a bang, but along the way it sometimes loses steam and meanders a bit, before a decently satisfying ending.
Lehane can be (if there’s such a thing in Noir) too nihilistic—almost everybody in the novel is either damaged or corrupt, and the South Boston described is a war zone without any hope. So, uplifting it isn’t. But it is tightly written, and shows a great deal of promise.
Well worth reading if you like your noir without cream or sugar.
Posted Saturday, 30 September, 2006 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.