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This is the new novel by Dennis Lehane, the author behind books like Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone and A Drink Before the War
A barman finds a puppy in a trash can, takes it home and starts a new life. Oh, and a bar owned by the Chechen Mafia, used as a “drop” for illegal betting money, is targeted for a heist.
I would call it: Bob Finds a Puppy — And His Bar Gets Ripped Off
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books or Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels.
Bob Saginowski is a large, middle-aged barman with no life. A devout Catholic who’s lived all his life in the same declining parish in Boston, whose days mostly consist of going to work and going home to the house he grew up in. But he’s got a secret.
Someone like Gary Sinese, who can portray the nice guy. Tom Hardy’s been cast for the movie, though, so go figure.
Set in a suburb of Boston called Buckingham, it’s a pretty dismal place in a lot of ways, with more than its fair share of dysfunctional people. The kind of place you wouldn’t go unless you already lived there.
Who puts a dog in a barrel?
This is a cracking read — well-paced and with plenty of good story bits. I’m not being funny about the puppy, Rocco, that Bob rescues from a trash can: I think it’s a really good hook and makes the main character more human as the story progresses. Lehane has captured the essence of that story to the point that I totally sympathized with Bob’s desire to protect the dog. A useful mechanism to ramp up the tension between Bob and the psycho Eddy Deeds, it also provides a useful counterpoint to the darker themes of the plot.
I liked this book — the characters had depth, flaws, foibles and most of all, lives. Along the way, Lehane talks about faith, the decline of organized religion, insanity and the basic needs that govern most people. Definitely worth a look.
Bookshots review written for LitReactor.com by Dean Fetzer