The magic of Dennis Lehane’s tenth novel Live By Night is that it takes the familiar, adds some sugar, a little lemon juice and a dash of tobacco and makes the whole piece as palatable as pecan pie.
Live By Night
Live By Night
Reviewed by Chris High
Set during Prohibition, Lehane brings to life with some outstanding descriptive prose the very essence of the era; a feat which is aided and abetted by some delightful characterisaters who light up the pages with their individuality, views and personality. Joe Loughlin and his experiences both in and out of prison are as absorbing as anything on Sky Atlantic's Boardwalk Empire, but even such an obvious comparison between the two becomes moot as the author weaves peripheral storylines in and out like a master tapestry artist, while never diluting the underlying themes of love, faith, honour, greed, corruption and – ultimately – ambition.
That Lehane’s ability is an ever-growing commodity is undeniable, but that he manages to meld together such a mellow, almost laidback tone with such vivid violence and infuse it all with so much angst and power leaves many others in his wake, and underlines further that he has set the bar so high it may almost be a futile exercise to try and match him. Quite an astonishing read from quite an astonishing author.