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Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Drink Before the War by Dennis LeHane review

I watched and then read Mystic River several years ago and was impressed, but for some reason never started on the Kinzie/Gennaro P.I. series. Thinking it was time to rectify that oversight, I saw there were several available on Scribd, the ebook subscription service, for which I had a thirty-day trial. (This is not a commercial, but if you read a lot of ebooks Oyster and Scribd are worth a look.) I also had the first in the series, A Drink Before the War, from Audible read by Jonathan Davis)

I read several reviews on Amazon, and there were the usual carping from those who demand perfect accuracy regarding historical references and, of course, a couple who refuse to read further as soon as they get some reference to a gun that might have the color of the barrel wrong or some such thing and the others who faint at the first sexual innuendo.

My standards are a bit less prosaic. All I look for in a fictional P.I. series are interesting characters, a reasonable amount of verisimilitude in the way people behave, and respectable writing. When I need information I’ll read history and for superb language there’s always Faulkner.

LeHane more than meets those standards. It a good story that sets the stage nicely for future novels in the series and suitably noir. Gennaro and Kinzie have been hired by some politicians to find a cleaning lady who disappeared and had made off with some important “documents.” Turns out (no surprise) the documents have nothing to do with a pending bill and the two partners have to make some decisions as to the trajectory of their investigation.

I recommend reading the series in order. This first in the series has a lot of back story in the dysfunctional relationships Patrick and Angie had with their father and spouse respectively.

Looking forward to reading more.
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