I read another Dennis Lenhane novel a year or so ago with the same characters as this book. Lehane has used the Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro private investigative team in a number of his books I understand, and after reading these two, I can see why. The characters have a lot of depth, history and both their banter and their relationship has the tang of reality to it. So good on you Dennis Lehane.
I picked this novel up, and another one like it at the local library's used book sale. My wife read both of them and enjoyed, so I'm giving them a go, but after reading this one, I'm switching to something else first--maybe a few things--before I read another one. Lehane's novels are fast paced and intense. I stayed up ay past my bedtime reading last night and had to give up and go to sleep with 4 or 5 chapters left. I need something a little more relaxing before picking up another Lehane novel.
As I mentioned in my review of Gone Baby, Gone, I'm sure that I'm reading these Kenzie/Gennaro novels out of order because of the history that keeps popping up. It could be that Lehane is just creating backstory, but I don't think that's always the case. A Drink Before the War was written in 1994, but I don't know where in the sequence of other books it sits.
The mystery that Kenzie and Gennaro need to unravel has both high connections and low connections, running from the political leaders in Boston to the gang leaders in Roxbury. The plot and sub-plots work well together and Lehane has the local dialect down, but he's either better connected to the bad business in Boston, or he's more pessimistic that I am, or... I could simple be one of the sleepy suburbanites that Lehane speaks about through his characters, and I've just been missing it.
In any case, Lehane doesn't pull any punches when it comes to violence, depravity or the dark side of the human psyche but I didn't get the feeling that any of it was gratuitous. So, yeah, I'll read the other one I picked up. And I'll be on the look out for more at the used book sale.