Kenzie And Gennaro Are Private Investigators In The Blue Collar Neighborhoods And Ghettos Of South Boston They Know It As Only Natives Can Working Out Of An Old Church Belfry, Kenzie And Gennaro Take On A Seemingly Simple Assignment For A Prominent Politician To Uncover The Whereabouts Of Jenna Angeline, A Black Cleaning Woman Who Has Allegedly Stolen Confidential State DocumentsFinding Jenna, However, Is Easy Compared To Staying Alive Once They Ve Got Her The Investigation Escalates, Implicating Members Of Jenna S Family And Rival Gang Leaders While Uncovering Extortion, Assassination, And Child Prostitution Extending From Bombed Out Ghetto Streets To The Highest Levels Of Government A Drink Before The War

10 thoughts on “A Drink Before the War

  1. says:

    My very first Dennis Lehane and I LOVED every gorgeous, kick ass, page turning word of it I loved the writingwhich paired genre grit and humor with a polished, emotive literary quality that you don t often see in detective novels I loved the plotwhich had a duo of private detectives trying to locate some incriminating documents for a group of political mucky mucks, and ending up mired in a conspiracy of dark family secrets, gang warfare, racial tensions and the U.S Senate I loved the tonea blend of world weary cynicism and unflappable optimism, garnished with self interest, and tempered by a good heart and a working moral compass And I loved, loved, loved the charactersand their relationship with one another Patrick Kenzie, the womanizing, authority averse Boston boy with mondo daddy issues, and his petite, tough as nails, except when it comes to her abusive, alcoholic husband, partner, Angela Gennaro These two are life long friends who, met when we were both majoring in Space Invaders with a Pub Etiquette minor at the Happy Harbor Campus of UMass Boston Their personal issues, their messed up private lives and their smoldering, just bellow the surface, attraction for one another was very compelling.However what really sent me to happyville was the iron strong bond of friendship and respect the two have for one another They argue, disagree and mock each other mercilessly, but you just know that, if need be, they would literally burn the world to save the other She felt like everything good She felt like the first warm gust of spring and Saturday afternoons when you re ten years old and early summer evenings on the beach when the sand is cool and the waves are colored scotch Her grip was fierce, her body full and soft, and her heart beat rapidly against my bare chest I could smell her shampoo and feel the downy nape of her neck against my chin. Oh, and speaking of burning the world, Patrick and Angie have a sociopathic, violence junkie named Bubba that s right, Bubba who does dirty work for them when they need it and hates everyone and everything, except the two of them The world according to Bubba is simple if it aggravates you, stop it By whatever means necessary Bubba doesn t get much page time in this novel but I have it from a reliable source i.e., Kemper , that Bubba plays a major role in future stories I can t wait Lehane s writing really knocked me on my ass I didn t know what to expect from him, and he really pulled me up on his bandwagon with his street wise, highly literate style infused with working class indignation L.A burns, and so many other cities smolder, waiting for the hose that will flood gasoline over the coals, and we listen to politicians who fuel our hate and our narrow views and tell us it s simply a matter of getting back to basics while they sit in their beachfront properties and listen to the surf so they won t have to hear the screams of the drowning Throughout the book, Lehane worked the gamut of my emotions, from anger to laughter, from outrage to compassion, from papa bear protectiveness to vengeance seeking kill em all and let the bodies fall where they may In short, I had an absolute blast reading this book Lehane kept the pacing brisk and the story front and center, but also managed to decorate the narrative with honest, insightful observations about our culture, race relations and the nature of good and evil As I grew, so did the fires, it seemed, until recently L.A burned, and the child in me wondered what would happen to the fallout, if the ashes and smoke would drift northeast, settle here in Boston, contaminate the air Last summer, it seemed to Hate came in a maelstrom, and we called it several things racism, pedophilia, justice, righteousness but all those words were just ribbons and wrapping paper on a soiled gift that no one wanted to open. If you haven t checked out Lehane before, I think you should I m shocked I waited this long to read him, but at least I now have a whole host of his other works to enjoy.You should join me 5.0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION

  2. says:

    Dennis Lehane from Boston Magazine A noir touch, complete with nifty madcap dialogue and a dark sense of humor makes this a fun detective tale It begins when two politicians come to PI Patrick Kenzie and employ him and partner Angela Gennaro to retrieve some documents purloined by a cleaning woman What follows is a large scale gang war between two of the most notorious lowlifes in Boston, two who share a surprising connection Depravity, turf, shame, revenge all figure in this dark tale of embarrassing pleasures and public corruption The PIs are the target of multiple murder attempts, with the usual result, damage but not of a terminal nature A cast of supporting characters gives this tale a rich ambience, a black columnist, old time cops, a too well armed psycho who happens to be on the side of the angels Race in Boston is also given considerable attention This is an excellent book in the tradition of Chandler It made me eager to read EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author s personal, Twitter and FB pagesOther books by Lehane I have read reviewedKenzie and Gennaro Darkness, Take My Hand Sacred Gone, Baby Gone Prayers for Rain Moonlight MileThe Coughlin Series The Given Day Live by Night World Gone ByRead, but not Reviewed Mystic River a masterpiece Shutter Island not

  3. says:

    My friend Kelly recently read the fourth book in this series and clued me into it I read Mystic River and Shutter Island by Lehane and they were both okay reads This one I LOVED You have Angie Gennaro who is tough as nails except for where it comes to her abusive husband Then Patrick Kenzie Kenzie has lots of daddy issues Kenzie might just have lots of all kinds of issues My gun is, as Angie would say, not a fuck around thing It s a.44 magnum automatic an automag, they call it gleefully in Soldier of Fortune and like publications and I didn t purchase it out of penis envy or Eastwood envy or because I wanted to own the goddamned biggest gun on the block I bought it for one simple reason I m a lousy shot They take on the case they are private investigators of a black cleaning woman who allegedly stole some documents That puts them into the middle of corrupt politicians and a gang war Racial tensions run hot in the book Everyone needs someone to hate for some reason Everyone s too damn stupid He said.I nodded And too damn angry He sat down again Goddamn I said, So where s that leave us, Rich He held up his glass Crying into our scotch at the end of another day One big thing that Angie and Kenzie have on their side is Bubba The world according to Bubba is simple if it aggravates you, stop it By whatever means necessary.Now I m sucked into another series Dang you Kelly and your Book Boar.

  4. says:

    As a gang war looms on the horizon, private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are hired to find a missing woman who stole some documents from a senator What they find could ignite a race war and burn Boston to the groundWhen I recently got caught up on Robert Crais s Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series, I wondered if I d find an acceptable crime series to fill the void Consider the void filled to the point of overflowing.A Drink Before the War stars PI team Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro Patrick s a PI with unresolved issues with his dead father and not at all secret romantic feelings for his partner Angie s a tough but beautiful lady with an abusive husband Their office is in the bell tower of a church Sound good so far The story sees them visiting Boston s dark underbelly in their search for a missing cleaning woman who happens to have some damning documents about a senator and ties to the heads of two rival gangs The plot is a pressure cooker waiting to whistle Driving the story along are Patrick and Angela and their complicated relationship Both characters go through the wringer as they discover the truth about what they re after Lehane s writing is a notch above most series detective books I kept noticing lines I would have read out loud if anyone was around to hear them I like that Lehane didn t make anything easy for Patrick and Angie Like a lot of good series detective books, the Dorchester setting was almost a character on its own.A Drink Before the War is damn near perfect for what it is I hope I don t devour the entire series too fast.

  5. says:

    Before he wrote Mystic River, Shutter Island or was part of the crime novelist dream team that worked with David Simon on The Wire, Dennis Lehane was just another writer trying to establish a private eye series Of course, they d end up being some of the best books of their kind because Lehane is just that damn good.Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro have been friends since their childhood growing up in a blue collar Boston neighborhood and now they re partners in a detective agency They re than a little in love with each other, but Angie is married and loyal to a man who abuses her regularly Patrick is baffled by how the strong willed and tough as nails Angie is willing to be a punching bag for this asshat, but his efforts to try and stop it have only made matters worse Plus, Patrick has his own issues in dealing with his background as a physically abused child at the hands of his father, a hero firefighter So their relationship is a bit complex.Patrick and Angela are hired by some local politicians to track down documents they claim were stolen out of a state senator s office by a cleaning woman The woman has vanished, and the pols are desperate to get their documents back What should be a routine job quickly turns bloody, and Patrick and Angela become the targets of both sides of a massive gang war.But since this is a series with smart mouthed, gun toting PI s, there s got to be a bad ass friend they can turn to Spenser has Hawk Elvis Cole has Joe Pike And Patrick and Angela have Bubba Rogowski, a lovable sociopath with a talent for mayhem and a hatred for everyone in the world except Patrick and Angela Bubba is the kind of guy that when you ask him for a couple of guns, he ll also provide some hand grenades Because you never know when a good grenade might come in handyA quick plot summary and the Bubba character make it seem as if this just another unrealistic PI series We all know that there aren t really any private detectives who go around shooting people with friends who supply them with grenades In fact, the first chapter almost seems like the Boston born Lehane is doing a straight rip off of Robert B Parker s Spenser series It s a first person story told from Patrick s point of view, and he meets the clients at the bar in the Ritz Carlton Hotel, a favorite Spenser watering hole He also delights in throwing out smart ass comments to tweak his employers, just as Spenser does However, as the story progresses, it gets much richer and deeper in characterization and themes than most PI series Race plays a huge part in this story, and Lehane allows his heroes have some less than politically correct thoughts regarding racial issues There s a lot of violence, and Patrick and Angie can play the tough smart ass when need be, but privately, they show the physical and emotional toll it takes on them These aren t larger than life action heroes who can shoot their way out of any problem, these are real people struggling to do the right thing in impossible circumstances and there are no easy answers.It looked like Lehane might have been done with Patrick and Angie s story after the fifth novel, when he went on to do his stand alone novels, but he s finally delivering us a new PA book later this year Woo hoo

  6. says:

    Posted at Shelf Inflicted Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro are offered big bucks to find a cleaning woman who made off with some confidential documents It sounds like a simple case, but there s a lot to those documents than just state secrets Kenzie and Gennaro both grew up in blue collar Dorchester and even though they re tough, dealing with sleazy politicians and dangerous gangs takes all their energy, resolve and determination The detectives have their own issues to deal with too Angie is married to an abusive husband, yet harbors some feelings for Patrick, who is her childhood friend Patrick can relate, having suffered abuse at the hands of his own father.I loved this dark, gritty, and violent story that explores racial and class conflicts, politics, and the evil that lurks in people s hearts I love the witty banter between the detectives and their growing relationship A believable and realistic urban setting, gun battles, car chases, and a rich cast of secondary characters help make this a very fun and worthwhile start to a series.

  7. says:

    this was surprisingly good.

  8. says:

    Actual rating 4.5 starsDark and addictive, A Drink Before the War is probably one of the best thrillers I ve ever read, and I can t wait to get my hands on the other books in the series With none of the stereotypical crap I ve learnt to dread, the characterization constitutes the greatest achievement of A Drink Before the War Indeed I m so tired of the one dimensional archetypes which are often served to us on a silver platter None of that here, but nuances none of them can be described in one word, and that s for the best, trust me Patrick what a sarcastic little shit of course I love him His nonconformist and dark humor had me giggling at every page, balancing perfectly the darkness lurking at every turn Smart ass an arrogant but strangely endearing, he isn t perfect but faces his flaws with a lucidity I adored Wandering through his cutting inner comments was simply fantastic He s conflicted, scarred, and so, so loyal to his partner, Angie Oh, and he s badass with a gun.Let me 2 seconds to smile weakly okay Sigh I loved the guy Angie Despite the difficulties she faces in her marriage her husband is a violent asshole, so yes, that s an understatement by no means can she be defined by them Don t you know persons who are strong in every aspect of their lives except when it comes to their love relationships I do Trapped in her memories of better times and her love for her husband, Angie, as kickass as she is, struggles to escape from this situation and yes, it was heartbreaking I found that the way Lehane pictured domestic abuse was sadly realistic and can I say The moment she acted on it was fucking GLORIOUS The friendship between the two of them gave me so many heart warming feels of course I ship them, duh.As for the secondary characters, I grandly appreciated that none of them was one dimensional Really, a wonderful characterization in my opinion Oh, and there s a panda Once that ugliness has been forced into you, it becomes part of your blood, dilutes it, race through your heart and back out again, staining everything as it goes The ugliness never goes away, never comes out, no matter what you do Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive All you can hope to do is control it, to force it all into one tight ball in one tight place and keep it there, a constant weight Patrick and Angie s investigation leads to the depiction of a dark and realistic world, whose undercurrent of hopelessness reminded me of Dos Passos at some points Racism Hypocrisy Politician corruption Prostitution Just name it Between justice and self preservation, what will you choose Every issue is dealt with without never simplifying it into snap judgments So much depth and shades Patrick is neither knight in shining armor nor selfish asshole, but his behavior embraces everything in between, and if it can be uncomfortable, it stays really believable and realistic You should know that the issues dealt with are pretty heavy, and than once I felt like Lehane took my heart and squeezed it forcefully all in all, this book isn t for the faint of heart, and it seemed important to notice it to possible readers Violence is everywhere, sometimes lurking, sometimes graphic But in the end, I thought that A Drink Before the War asked the right questions and showed how much our opinions can be biased by our prejudices Do we all see life through double standards, depending on the subject in question Are we sure that we d realize it if that was the case For example, I had a discussion with people about the way some music lyrics can appear to condone sexual violence and violence against women in general Everybody could quote some hip hop song and that was it When I quoted Alt J, an Indi rock band for their repeatedly violent songs nobody agreed and people told me that the group wrote pieces of art and nothing else Fitzpleasure, for example, is based on a gang rape scene from Last Exit to Brooklyn I m sorry but no If you don t want your lyrics being interpreted as glorifying abuse like these She may contain the urge to run awayBut hold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocksGermolene, disinfect the sceneMy love, my love, love, loveBut please don t go, I love you so, my lovelyor these She bruises, coughs, she splutters pistol shotsHold her down with soggy clothes and breezeblocksShe s morphine, queen of my vaccineMy love, my love, love, love, la, la, la, la Breezeblocks You take the time to publish a public statement to condemn it AT THE VERY LEAST, because I m not private to your mind and I don t have a clue if you re glorifying or denouncing that kind of behavior as it is Sorry, I digress, but all of that is to say that without even realizing it, people assumed that this catchy song written by a rock band was a piece of art and that the only problematic songs were from hip hop I don t agree and find it hypocritical, for crying out loud The world isn t a simple place, and Lehane shows it perfectly As for the writing, what can I say except that it was addictive Indeed after a rather slow beginning, the story picked up and became a real page turner for me Moreover, as I said earlier, I absolutely adored the sarcastic tone of the book Concerning the settings, I thought that they were splendidly described rarely authors manage to bring a city to life as Lehane does with Boston here making it almost as if the city itself was a character Each neighborhood, each slice of life appear tainted with too much distrust and hopelessness even when it comes to rich ones, which ambience is less claustrophobic but just as dark Next one, please For of my reviews, please visit

  9. says:

    Terrific first half of this book 4 star , but what a disappointment in the last half 2 star , and the ending was awful 1 star Lehane shows great promise in the beginning, with tight dialogue and action sequences, some great humour, and interesting characters and plot.By the end of Chapter 4, he finds his true voice Patrick and Angela are talking and flirting after the first day s work Wonderful Then Phil arrives and silently spars with Patrick over Angela s attention, then they leave and Patrick watches from the window What great writing here 12% There is some wonderful prose here about Patrick s father My mother followed the Hero to the grave by six months, so I never got to ask her either But I doubt she would have told me Irish parents have never been known for speaking ill of their spouses to their children I sat back on the couch in my apartment, thinking about the Hero once again, telling myself this was the last time That ghost was gone But I was lying and I knew it The Hero woke me up at night The Hero hid in waiting in shadows, in alleys, in the antiseptic hallways of my dreams, in the chamber of my gun Just as in life, he d do whatever he damn well pleased 16% Straight out of Robert B Parker She had a purse you could hide Peru in, which she dropped on the floor as she crossed to the couch 25% Wonderful humanity here Jenna sat back down and looked at me and I held her dark eyes They had the odd mixture of terror and resilient bravery of a cat backed into a corner the look of someone who isn t sure she s up to the task, but has decided there s no other way out but straight ahead It s the look of the crumbling soul trying to pull it all together for one last worthwhile breath It s not a look I ve ever seen in the eyes of people like Sterling Mulkern or Jim Vurnan or Brian Paulson I never saw it on the Hero s face or a president s or a captain of industry s But I ve seen it in the faces of most everyone else 33% Very poetic, warm and wonderful She felt like everything good She felt like the first warm gust of spring and Saturday afternoons when you re ten years old and early summer evenings on the beach when the sand is cool and the waves are colored scotch Her grip was fierce, her body full and soft, and her heart beat rapidly against my bare chest I could smell her shampoo and feel the downy nape of her neck against my chin 62% The first half of the book is much better than second half It s still fun so far, but Lehane has gotten overconfident and a bit sloppy 72% I really get tired of Hollywood physics Very stupid stuff Then Bubba stepped out of the crowd and blew off the back of his head with a shotgun The kid vaulted up in the air, arms spread wide, chest out in a swan dive, and hit the ground on his face 73% The shootout in the train station is quite stupid Not credible at all Robert B Parker would never stoop to this More lousy Hollywood physics Ugh.And the book deteriorates badly from here, becoming repetitive and very, very dull.Too bad.Note There are some quite unpleasant scenes here of paedophilia and child torture, as well as quite unpleasant racism throughout Ugh.A General Note about the Kenzie and Gennaro series by LehanePatrick, Angie and a few others have been closest friends since their impoverished childhoods They ve now formed a detective agency in South Boston Angie is married to one of their friends, but is mistreated by him when he drinks Patrick loves her truly, but restrains expression of it One of my favourite aspects of this series is how smart, strong and beautiful Angie is She is a true partner, and complements Patrick in so many ways, both emotionally and as detectives.Start with the first book A Drink Before the War the first half is amazing, the ending not so much, but the stories should be read in order The prose is superb This was Lehane s first book and it shows how brilliant he will become The mysteries are complex and true Darkness, Take My Hand is the second book, and Lehane grows in power and complexity Things start simple, and then grow ever convoluted The repressed passion that Patrick had for Angie seems gone, but it s going to be there forever, really Watching their relationship grow is quite wonderful Full of great quotes.Book 3, Sacred is 5 stars Great complex plot, interesting lying characters, a marvellous femme fatale, twists and turns that Chandler would love, and plenty of action scenes.My review here with amazing quotations.The ten star noir masterpiece, Gone, Baby, Gone is extraordinary Superb, complex, and full of amazing passion, action and quotes One of my all time favourite books My review READ THE QUOTES Wow.By the end of this book, you won t ever want to stop reading Kenzie and Gennaro The next two books are superb, very very good, and then ten years later Lehane is pressed into writing a final book for Patrick and Angie, and does a very good job, a fine farewell, warm and mature.Bosch, Kenzie and Gennaro and Spenser Wonderful.

  10. says:

    A crime drama set in 90s Boston Yes and thank you I came of age in the 1990s just 45 minutes outside of Boston So much of this book speaks to me.What didn t feel as intimate was the race relations strife plot There was one black family in my sleepy little suburban hometown when I grew up I m sure we had racists, but racism wasn t a thing because there weren t races, just a bunch of whities The subject didn t come up unless it was in the newspapers The city had its problems, has had its problems right along A Drink Before the War touches upon Boston s race problem in a grand, as well as intimate, way.Plot summary quickie Two private investigators are tasked by local politicians to retrieve certain documents The pair end up in the middle of a gang war But something deeper and darker is going on, which pushes our heroes to go above and beyond the call of duty Also, during the investigation one of the investigators struggles with memories of his own past while the other deals with an abusive husband Big and small, political and personal storylines pulse throughout A Drink Before the War.I loved the two main characters, maybe not as people, but at least as well developed characters Why not as people Well, no one is clean I mean, just about everyone in this book has flaws Some are bigger and harder to overlook than others But Dennis Lehane was looking to prick his readers moral repugnance and he did a hell of a job, all while telling a fast paced thriller.There s nothing wrong with this book from my perspective So why didn t I give this a five star rating It s fantastic And yet, it doesn t quite feel like a masterpiece Maybe it s because it spends most of its time in the dirt You feel filthy after reading this one, tarnished by the crooked politicians, the degenerates, gangland violence, unrepentant slayings, etc However, that was its intent and it succeedsoh man, does it ever succeed.