Title: Live by Night
Author: Dennis Lehane
Genre: Crime; Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
I read this one months ago, so I’m going with the publisher’s summary today:
Boston, 1926. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent police captain, has graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.
Joe’s dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream.
I read this one for book club. I think we chose it because Lehane is a local author (at least part-time) and the book largely takes place in Tampa. And it was fun to see Ybor City in its heyday, filled with rum, cigars, and dancing.
I didn’t love the book while I was reading it. I didn’t even really like it. If the book club wasn’t AT my house, I probably would have put it down and skipped.
But the, once we got talking about it, I started to like it more. I can’t even really recall what it was about the discussion, but it made me appreciate things I’d missed before.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt differently about a book after discussing it?