Friday, January 15, 2016

World Gone By

by Dennis Lehane
303 pgs  (Joe Coughlin series #3)

I loved Dennis Lehane's The Given Day when it came out several years ago. It's a much larger book than Lehane typically writes, and it introduced Danny Coughlin, an Irish policeman patrolling the streets of Boston immediately following World War I. The story included the events that that led up to the 1919 police strike that took place there.

Lehane followed up that book with Live by Night, a loose sequel that focused on the life of Joe Coughlin, Danny's youngest son, who turned his back on his father's legacy and became a prominent member of the organized crime scene.

In World Gone By Lehane concludes this trilogy and finishes his story of Joe Coughlin. It's now the 1940s and Coughlin has removed himself from the day-to-day operations of his criminal activities and is now living off of its profits as trusted managers oversee things.

Joe would like nothing better than to quietly live out the rest of his life quietly with Tomas, his half-Cuban son whose mother passed away violently at the end of the last book. But that is not to be. Someone has put a contract out on Joe's life and Joe needs to figure out who before everything he's worked so hard to build up is taken away from him forever.

Lehane is probably one of the best authors writing today when it comes to writing interesting and compelling characters. Joe Coughlin is one of his best. He's a ruthless criminal, who doesn't think twice about taking another man's life if it will further his interests. But he's also a very likable character, one that you pull for and want everything to work out for in the end.

These three books don't follow the typical formula for trilogies. The Given Day really stands alone, while Live by Night and World Gone By are one story split into two books. But when you consider all three books together as one story, the scope of what Lehane accomplished in writing them becomes evident.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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