by Dennis Lehane
402 pgs (Joe Coughlin series #2)
Live by Night is the story of Joe Coughlin. A man who grew up in Boston during Prohibition. He's the son of the city's police captain, who instead of following in his father's footsteps, chose to "live by the rules of the night," and the more exciting life of a criminal. As a young man he began working as a petty thief for the mobsters that ran the city and was eventually handpicked to run the mob's operations in Florida.
In Florida Joe builds an empire, becoming the sole supplier of rum throughout the entire southeast portion of the country. But as his power grows, and while he ruthlessly eliminates all who stand in his way, he also demonstrates that he's not without a moral code that keeps him relatable and even endears him to the reader.
I don't know if there's another author who who could pull off what Lehane does in this book. Throughout the story I couldn't help but like and care about Joe Coughlin. In the real world I'd have had no sympathy for a person like that, but at every stage of Joe's life told about in the story, I cared about him. and I wanted him to succeed.
If you've never read one of his books, this is an excellent one to start with.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆