Review: Mystic River

Mystic RiverMys­tic Riv­er by Den­nis Lehane

My rat­ing: 5 of 5 stars

What did I think of Mys­tic Riv­er? I won­der why it took me so long to read this sto­ry, or to dis­cov­er Den­nis Lehane.  That’s what I think.

Many of us have seen the movie based off the book direct­ed by Clint East­wood. I nev­er did. Hit too close to home, that fic­tion­al loss of a daugh­ter, Katie. Ten years lat­er, those buga­boos are gone, and the sto­ry found me again.

Set­ting aside 10 years of tech­ni­cal improve­ments that date the sto­ry some­what, the plot sweeps you along, dump­ing you in with the main char­ac­ter when they are 11 years old, and not spit­ting you back up on shore until it’s all said and done thir­ty years lat­er.  Lehane deft­ly weaves togeth­er the lives of the three men, their fam­i­lies and their neigh­bor­hood in Boston.  Their choic­es, old and new, become time bombs, nev­er quite for­got­ten, tick­ing away.

Lehane’s prose is descrip­tive, rich, and some­times sen­ti­men­tal with­out ever becom­ing maudlin or mawk­ish. He has an almost-gen­tle way of hold­ing up and expos­ing the char­ac­ters’ dark sides that is noth­ing less than bril­liant. It’s clear he knows his loca­tion, and his research was exten­sive. There were no mis­steps, no time when I grew bored with the sto­ry­line, no point where I put down the book to do some­thing more inter­est­ing. Mys­tic Riv­er is 448 pages of fab­u­lous­ly grip­ping sto­ry­telling.

Can­not wait to read some of his oth­er works. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excit­ed about a new-to-me author. What took me so long??

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