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As richly complex and brutal as the terrain it depicts, here is the mesmerizing, darkly original novel that heralded the arrival of Dennis Lehane, the master of the new noir—and introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his smart and tough private investigators weaned on the blue-collar streets of Dorchester.

A cabal of powerful Boston politicians is willing to pay Kenzie and Gennaro big money for a seemingly small job: to find the missing cleaning woman who stole some secret documents. As Kenzie and Gennaro learn, however, this crime is no ordinary theft. It's about justice. About right and wrong. But in Boston, finding the truth isn't just a dirty business … it's deadly.

Topics: Blackmail, First in a Series, First Person Narration, Boston, Massachusetts, Violent, Gritty, Noir, Gangsters, Corruption, Ethics, Politicians , Morality, Race Relations, Politics, Child Abuse, Missing Persons, Private Investigators, Assassination, and Women Detectives

Published: HarperCollins on Jul 27, 2010
ISBN: 9780062015655
List price: $5.99
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Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are working on a case for 2 politicians: to find a missing cleaning worman and the documents she apparently took with her. They find the missing woman, but cross paths with her exhusband and her son, who are in warring gangs. Eventually they find the documents, but not before the gangs have open warfare and a friend is shot. Gritty, great characters, and Patrick and Angie. Up to Lehane's usual standards.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Outstanding first in a series. Complex ethical questions drive the main characters to investigate. Not your b/w approach to solving crimes. Combine that with masterful prose and unrelenting pacing, you have a masterpiece.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've picked up my fair share of mysteries throughout my life. Frankly, when it comes to that genre, it doesn't take much to satisfy me. Give me a mildly dark, non-gory (although with this I can take or leave), whodunit and I'm happy. It doesn't need to be complicated. Just a well-written page-turner is all I ask for. And for me not to predict the whodunit before he/she actually, you know, does it (Though if I do figure it out, it must've been extremely simple because very rarely do I figure out the whodunit). For me, that's what mysteries are all about. A Drink Before the War wasn't exactly the perfect mystery, but it was still pretty damn good. Now, the whodunit aspect of the whole mystery genre isn't really present in A Drink Before the War because in the beginning, we already have an inkling as to who exactly dunit. This book unravels what exactly they did and the consequences of those actions. The "mystery" wasn't as dark as I usually like them (think Criminal Minds dark) and wasn't what kept me reading at all. That aspect was unexpected. Usually when I start a new mystery series, it's really the mystery that has to keep me intrigued. It's good to like and connect to the characters, but I, first and foremost, need to find the mystery intriguing. This didn't happen with A Drink Before the War. I did like (not love) the mystery, but what I loved were the characters; so much that I could ignore the lackluster mystery. Patrick (who's the narrator) was charming, smart, and funny in that self-deprecating way. It was refreshing to see a man in literature be aware of his shortcomings. Angie was pretty kick-ass in her own right especially towards the end. Now, their romance. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not a romance fan unless it's Young-Adult (excluding Twilight), actual chick-lit, or various fanfics. I usually end up rolling my eyes at out-and-out romances and definitely if you have a well-written novel and just add romance in it so that the blurb can include romance to the list of all that's amazing about a particular book. You know the ones that have "Intrigue, horror, and romance! What more can you possibly ask for?!" I've seen many a book ruined by having a romantic subplot just for the sake of saying it's there (The Abortionist's Daughter). And in mysteries, the person just has to fall in love with their partner because there are no want-able, single people outside the bubble of their actual workplace. But color me surprised by thinking that this romance between Patrick and Angie...actually worked. I could see why these characters would be attracted to each other and that particular subplot was [gulp:] kinda, sorta, my favorite part. This book basically has me questioning where exactly did my life get off track that I'm enjoying a romance subplot where I previously never enjoyed one before. That's a bit life-affirming. Still, I'm hoping it was a one-off. Anyway, A Drink Before the War was a pretty good mystery. Sure the mystery aspect wasn't as dark as I like them and I found it a bit lacking (hence the four star rating and not five star), the characters are ultimately what made me enjoy this as much as I did. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about these characters.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are working on a case for 2 politicians: to find a missing cleaning worman and the documents she apparently took with her. They find the missing woman, but cross paths with her exhusband and her son, who are in warring gangs. Eventually they find the documents, but not before the gangs have open warfare and a friend is shot. Gritty, great characters, and Patrick and Angie. Up to Lehane's usual standards.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Outstanding first in a series. Complex ethical questions drive the main characters to investigate. Not your b/w approach to solving crimes. Combine that with masterful prose and unrelenting pacing, you have a masterpiece.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I've picked up my fair share of mysteries throughout my life. Frankly, when it comes to that genre, it doesn't take much to satisfy me. Give me a mildly dark, non-gory (although with this I can take or leave), whodunit and I'm happy. It doesn't need to be complicated. Just a well-written page-turner is all I ask for. And for me not to predict the whodunit before he/she actually, you know, does it (Though if I do figure it out, it must've been extremely simple because very rarely do I figure out the whodunit). For me, that's what mysteries are all about. A Drink Before the War wasn't exactly the perfect mystery, but it was still pretty damn good. Now, the whodunit aspect of the whole mystery genre isn't really present in A Drink Before the War because in the beginning, we already have an inkling as to who exactly dunit. This book unravels what exactly they did and the consequences of those actions. The "mystery" wasn't as dark as I usually like them (think Criminal Minds dark) and wasn't what kept me reading at all. That aspect was unexpected. Usually when I start a new mystery series, it's really the mystery that has to keep me intrigued. It's good to like and connect to the characters, but I, first and foremost, need to find the mystery intriguing. This didn't happen with A Drink Before the War. I did like (not love) the mystery, but what I loved were the characters; so much that I could ignore the lackluster mystery. Patrick (who's the narrator) was charming, smart, and funny in that self-deprecating way. It was refreshing to see a man in literature be aware of his shortcomings. Angie was pretty kick-ass in her own right especially towards the end. Now, their romance. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not a romance fan unless it's Young-Adult (excluding Twilight), actual chick-lit, or various fanfics. I usually end up rolling my eyes at out-and-out romances and definitely if you have a well-written novel and just add romance in it so that the blurb can include romance to the list of all that's amazing about a particular book. You know the ones that have "Intrigue, horror, and romance! What more can you possibly ask for?!" I've seen many a book ruined by having a romantic subplot just for the sake of saying it's there (The Abortionist's Daughter). And in mysteries, the person just has to fall in love with their partner because there are no want-able, single people outside the bubble of their actual workplace. But color me surprised by thinking that this romance between Patrick and Angie...actually worked. I could see why these characters would be attracted to each other and that particular subplot was [gulp:] kinda, sorta, my favorite part. This book basically has me questioning where exactly did my life get off track that I'm enjoying a romance subplot where I previously never enjoyed one before. That's a bit life-affirming. Still, I'm hoping it was a one-off. Anyway, A Drink Before the War was a pretty good mystery. Sure the mystery aspect wasn't as dark as I like them and I found it a bit lacking (hence the four star rating and not five star), the characters are ultimately what made me enjoy this as much as I did. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series and learning more about these characters.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
First in the Kenzie/Gennaro series.Parick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are a private detective firm located in the working class area of Dorchester in south Boston. Weaned on the streets and culture of the Irish and Italians who are the largest ethnic groups in the area, Kenzie and Gennaro are highly intelligent, extremely good at their work, tough, and above all, knowledgeable about how Boston in general and their subculture in particular works.So when a powerful politician gives them a seemingly trivial job—recovering some stolen documents from a missing black cleaning woman—Gennaro and Kenzie are, to say the least, wary.As well they should be. This seemingly relatively innocuous job leads them into the nightmare of Boston’s gang warfare. Before the puzzle around the documents is solved, Kenzie and Gennaro will journey through some of the roughest territory on Boston’s streets and be forced to deal with some of the ugliest aspects of human behavior. Everything about this book is outstanding: the plotting, the evocation of Boston’s working class neighborhoods and ambience, the characters—all of them, from protagonists to minor players—original and with distinct voices of their own, and above all, truly superior writing.This is a superior book in any genre. Highly recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A Drink Before War' began Dennis Lehane's deservedly popular Kenzie-Gennaro noir detective series. Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro are the epitome of hardboiled private eyes based in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood. Lehane echoes Raymond Chandler with wisecracking tough guys, lurid violence, and plenty of fast-paced action. Lehane develops his characters emotionally while exploring the bitter racial divide between Dorchester and Roxbury. Kenzie is hired by a powerful white liberal State Senator to find his missing black cleaning lady - and some 'documents' that went missing when she did. Patrick and Angie do find her and that leads them right into the heart of a nasty family fight, one that is fought with brutality and finality. 'A Drink Before War' was Lehane's first novel and it shows at times. For example, there is some painfully bad dialogue in a clumsy bit of badinage that plays on the sexual tension between these two old friends from the neighborhood. Angie has found a phone number: "Angie said, 'Got it.' 'Give it to me.' She didn't, but she gave me the number." Groan, said the reader. Ok, so Lehane had room to grow in 1994 and grow he did as his work on this series (the second book is Darkness, Take My Hand (Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro Novels)), the great TV series The Wire - Seasons 1-4, and Mystic River demonstrate. 'A Drink Before War' is entertaining genre fiction with enough hints of greater promise to whet the reader's appetite for more. Recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
No question the writing style is effective. Just didn't like the plot or most of the characters.
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