You probably know Dennis Lehane because of his books that have become movies: Shutter Island, Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone. And that implies that his books are just that: fodder for filmmakers. But remember how good all three of those movies were? It’s because the source material is just plain awesome.
Since We Fell is a thriller. But you wouldn’t know it at first because get this: it takes about 140 pages before the thriller plot line actually gets developed. Instead we are treated to our main character’s quest to find her long lost birth father who was hid from her by her (maybe?) awful mother. This might be a knock against lesser authors, but I was hooked. Lehane knows how to get into a character. You feel like you know main character Rachel Childs in and out. You know her motivations, her fears, her entire life. AND THEN she gets involved in a crazy, murderous conspiracy.
My only real complaint is that Lehane is so good at descriptions and scenes and random characters that it felt like he spent less time on plot. Oh it wraps up nicely and it’s clearly thought out, but the actual ‘thriller’ portion of the novel isn’t very long. It feels long because of the very good descriptions but if you simplified all of them you would have a much shorter novel with a short plot.
So if you’re looking for a great novel that takes place in Boston, Lehane is your man. If you’d like a strong female protagonist, Since We Fell is your book.
3 1/2 out of 4 stars.
P.S. I know Live By Night wasn’t that great of a movie. It was kind of a boring book too. Read The Given Day instead.