18 June, 2013

Happy to be pushed

Mystic River
Dennis Lehane

Abi ranted and raved about Dennis Lehane until i felt i had to read one of his books to see what she had enjoyed. And i am glad i did: By my severe but simple criterion, i would call this a successful book.

Lehane is a skilful producer of characters he is able to make the reader like; his murder victim, for a start, was more than just a bland entity to be killed, and i felt particularly sorry for her though i knew from before she was introduced that she was destined for a sticky end. Also the beginning of the book, taking place some twenty years before the main action, was an interesting touch; many authors have important events in the pasts of their characters, but they do not always make them such a complete part of the plot. Here the fact that Dave got into the car and Sean and Jimmy did not was essential, given totemic significance maybe, by the actual telling of the story, although Lehane, as is the wont of mystery writers, kept secrets to himself until he felt like revealing them.

The end of a the book was a little surprising ~ not the solution, well, that was a surprise as well, nicely done ~ but in the end a character i had grown to like (though he was becoming more and more fearsome) eventually essentially decides to ignore the forces of good and law in the city and run or rule his own neighbourhood himself; it was a bit like watching Vito Corleone become the Godfather, and not the ending i had wanted for him. Part of what makes a good author is the ability to be both predictable and surprising.

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