Reader reviews for Mystic River

A very enjoyable read. Lehane has a way of making you relate to the characters and their challenges. Every bit as good as Shutter Island.
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I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as Sacred. I think this one is more brutal & stark with very little chance for redemption. It seems to be about the making of monsters: what Johnny O'Shea is; what Jimmy Marcus has always been; what Dave Boyle might have become, among others. There's very little chance that Jimmy will be caught for his dark deeds, but if he thinks Katie's death was pay back for one murder then the next spot of bad karma should be a doozy - I really hope so.I guess I'm a bit of a traditionalist & like my baddies to get their comeuppance at the end of the book; I want fiction in my fiction, not shades of real life.
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This is a haunting, powerful book. There is action aplenty (two major crimes and many imagined ones), but basically it is the story of the things that shape us for better or for worse -- neighborhood, friends, family, love, memory, work (everything as in real life but faith). Three friends forever changed by something that happens when they are 11 years old. What is going on in the characters' heads and hearts is the main story; watching the movie, makes you realize it is Lehane's depiciton of the inner workings of the characters that make the novel so powerful. The action grows out of that. This book stays with you.
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After seeing the film, I read the book—and couldn’t put it down. I tried reading a Lehane detective novel before picking up Mystic River and I thought it was awful. This was an instance of the film improving the reading of the book since I could see each character from the movie as I read. This was a well-written novel of family, betrayal, planned violence, misassumptions (life is so filled with them), random violence, and the vagaries of life.
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The best book I have read so far this year. It is a powerful crime thriller, but also an engaging character-driven drama. A full five-stars for this wonderfully written novel.
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While it's not hard to guess the real killer pretty early on, this thriller keeps the heat turned up when rumors start getting back to the dead girl's dad and he starts looking to avenge his daughter's death.
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This was excellent. I found myself reading certain sentences over again because they were gorgeous and wonderful. The opening sentence is a work of art – “ When Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus were kids, their fathers worked together at the Coleman Candy plant and carried the stench of warm chocolate back home with them.” It establishes the relationship and the use of the word stench to describe the smell of chocolate is not one I’ve ever seen. And this one – “ Brendan opened his mouth, and Sean saw a dark knowledge pass through him like an electric eel.” It’s almost poetry. The command of language incredible.
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A thriller of sorts set in Boston, Massachusetts. This is a haunting tale of three men whose pasts were permanently tied together one fateful day when one of them was kidnapped as the other two looked on. They find themselves pulled together again when the daughter of one is murdered. As the investigation ensues, the reader is given an intimate look at the lives of these three men and their families. The book was dark and depressing and yet thought provoking; after completing it, I found myself sitting there for several minutes as if the wind had been knocked out of me. The characters were extremely well “drawn” out by the author, each of them complex. Mr. Lehane is a gifted writer and I am eager to read some of his other books.
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A really good book (and movie)
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When Dave Boyle gets into the car of two strangers pretending to be cops, it changes the lives of three childhood friends, Dave, Jimmy and Sean, forever. Dave comes back after 4 days but isn't quite the same kid anymore. Years later the daughter of Jimmy is found murdered in a wooded area of a small blue collar community. Soon Dave becomes a suspect when he came homes the night of the murder with blood on him, but not his blood. As Sean, who is now a cop, investigates the killing, Jimmy starts looking for the man who killed his daugther and rapidly gravitates towards Dave Boyle.As a foreigner who did not grow up in the United States I had a hard time fully appreciating the characters and dialog in the novel. This book is essentially about the events and people that shape what is often called Small Town USA. The characters are sharply drawn and the circumstances, events and descriptions of the community are accurately portrayed (as far as I can tell) If you like novels that tell it as it is and do not brush over the harsher side of life then you will greatly enjoy this novel.The writing style is direct and unpretentious, something very appropriate for the content. Readers are drawn into what appears to be a murder mystery, but what should really be considered a local drama or thriller. Having built up a lot of momentum towards the conclusion or reveal, the book loses steam when the real killer and his motives turn out to be trivial and not connecting to anything that happened in the book. This ending is completely appropriate for the subject matter of the book, which paints the despair and frustration people experience when they can't get a hold of the events in their lives. But it felt a bit of a let-down, no matter how appropriate,.
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