A Drink Before the War Review

A Drink Before the War - Dennis Lehane

This is my first experience with a Dennis Lehane book. I've seen the movie adaptations of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River, and Shutter Island but had yet to read something by him. Last night I figured I would remedy that. Thanks to the magic that is Minecraft and Audible, I was able to blow through it in one session of gaming. The audiobook is narrated by Jonathan Davis (no, not the lead singer of Korn), and Mr. Davis does a passable job. Nothing stellar, but he got the job done.

The book itself is your typical private investigator drama. The team of Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro share a certain sexual tension that is fun for a very short period of time but soon grew to annoy me. Angie is married to an abusive hubby, and you know at some point she's either going to get her revenge or her partner is going to step in, and I just wanted it to fucking happen already. Kenzie is pining after Angie, and he's not subtle in the least. I appreciated that at one point Angie tells him to lay the fuck off, because I was kinda hoping he would too. You know what? Just one time I'd like to see a book tackle a PI duo where the dude is being abused by his spouse and the woman of the team is constantly harassing him for a piece o' that swingin' sausage dangling betwixt his legs. If nothing else, it would break the monotony of this overdone dynamic.

What makes this book standout in one of the most crowded genres in the industry is Lehane's literary prowess. The guy can write. And while I don't know that I would continue on with this series (the characters really did nothing for me), I would read one of his standalones in a heartbeat. (Scratch that. Just noticed I have the next book in this series, so I'll at least get that far.)

In summation: Overdone character dynamic mixed with some fantastic prose puts this one in the middle for me. I didn't love it. Didn't hate it. Recommended if you like PI stories and good writing.

Final Judgment: Wicked writin', kid! I'm fawkin' serious, dood.