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Absorbing suspense in Dennis Lehane's Live By Night

An absorbing love story / crime epic that demonstrates Lehane's gift for penning drama.

"Some years later, on a tugboat in the Gulf of Mexico, Joe Coughlin's feet were placed in a tub of cement." So begins Dennis Lehane's latest Prohibition-era tale, which charts the rise of Coughlin from a petty thief to one of the most feared rum runners in the US.

As he heads towards his watery denouement, our protagonist journeys from the tough streets of Boston to the humidity of Florida, encountering sultry femme fatales, corrupt cops, psychotic gangsters and violent Klansmen along the way.

Overall, this is an absorbing, suspenseful love story/crime epic that aptly demonstrates Lehane's gift for penning enthralling drama. Nevertheless, as the somewhat hackneyed cast of characters suggests, it seems even a writer of Lehane's prowess can't escape reiterating well-worn cliches.

Much of Lehane's previous literary efforts - including the likes of Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone, Baby, Gone - have already been repackaged for cinema. And as no one loves a cliched yarn more than a Hollywood producer, expect Live By Night to be appearing at your local multiplex sometime soon.

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