Book Reviews of Mystic River

Mystic River
Mystic River
Author: Dennis Lehane
ISBN-13: 9780688163167
ISBN-10: 0688163165
Publication Date: 1/30/2001
Pages: 416
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 84

4 stars, based on 84 ratings
Publisher: William Morrow Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

130 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Mystic River on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Three young boys from the mean streets of Boston lives are forever altered when one of them is abducted. Jimmy Marcus and Sean Devine did not get in the car with the two men who turned onto their street one day, but Dave Boyle did. Although Dave manages to escape from the pedophiles the friendship is never the same and all three men move on with their lives. Sean is now a police officer, Jimmy a reformed mobster who spends a few years in jail and changes when his wife dies while he is away, leaving him to raise their daughter Katie. Dave is married but hasn't done much with his life, still harboring the pain of his past. All three of these men's lives come together again when a teenaged Katie is murdered; Sean is the lead investigator, Jimmy is wracked by grief and guilt, and Dave becomes increasingly unraveled as many of his secrets become exposed. Powerfully written with unforgettable and complex characters, this is one of the best suspense books I have read in a very long time. Each character seems so real they almost come off the page. You empathize with them; shake your head at their weaknesses but care about each one. The language is real, the situations are real and the question of morals and ethics is explored time and again. Good people do bad things; sometimes bad people can do good things, and there is a strong sense of karma throughout the book. The âwhat if' questions of making a different turn on a given day and the consequences are explored and the scars that are left on three boys as they mature into men is examined in their day by day reactions to Katie's death. I have never read Lehane before, but I plan to remedy that situation. I have A Drink Before the War on my TBR and I will definitely read that one very soon.
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Helpful Score: 3
Incredible book, I can't recommend this one enough. I, too, saw the movie first and loved it. The movie followed the book very closely and the book does the characters justice, that much more. The wives all have an integral part and the book is able to go into those depths that the movie would not have been able to. Nothing was left out of the movie, it's just more insight. Being in Dave's head in the book can't be duplicated and there was one scene in the movie that I found very powerful and was looking forward to reading it in the book: the scene toward the end between Sean Penn and Laura Linney-- a very chilling scene in the movie and very high impact in the book as well. I would re-read again in a few years.
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Helpful Score: 2
"Mystic River" is a thoroughly intriguing book with characters that were three dimensional. Unfortunately I saw the movie prior to reading the book, which is not what I prefer to do since nearly every movie fails miserably in it representation of the book. However, I realized two things: the movie did a very good job of representing the book and the book was still fresh and new to me. Anyone who is looking for a great read to introduce them to a potentially new author, this is it.
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Helpful Score: 1
The story of three boys, once the best of friends, separated by a terrible event that changed their lives forever. Years later murder thrusts them together once more.
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Helpful Score: 1
Never a dull moment when you read one of Lehanes' books. Love this author.
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Helpful Score: 1
Very, very good read with a lot of surprising twists, and deep character development. Great story and he spends a lot of time leading you through it. I highly recommend it.
My only "problem" (and it's not really a problem, more of a "quality"), it's hard to read again. I read books several times for different reasons, and this one is a little hard to wade through emotionally when you don't have the mystery pushing you along (since you already know what's coming).
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Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my favorite books. I think it and characters were very well written and put together and that the story was very interesting. A very suspenseful thriller and enjoyable read. I could hardly set it down. I was a little disturbed close to the end, but only because I had planned to watch the movie and now I don't think I could. However, I give MYSTIC RIVER two thumbs way, way up.
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Helpful Score: 1
great book. phenomenal writing with an ironic twist of fate.
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Helpful Score: 1
"A literary murder mystery of the highest order...The way this story unfolds and wraps itself around your innermost fears makes it a gut-clenching winner" USA Today
reviewed Mystic River on
Helpful Score: 1
I love Dennis Lehane books but this is the first of his audio books to which I've listened. So many times the reading on the audio books is flat and one dimensional but this guy did a phenomenal job. His performance really made the story shine. Like all other Lehane books, Mystic River is a great "read". :)
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Helpful Score: 1
I saw the movie first and thought it was excellent but there is no comparison to reading this book. It is one of the best mystery thrillers I've ever read, a sad-but-true story of karma and "the sins of the father"...

Sean, Jimmy and Dave were thrown together as friends for about a year when they were 11. One day, a car drove up with two men in it. One boy got in and the other two didn't. What happened then and afterward touched their lives forever. They grew up, went in different directions and then were brought together again by a tragic murder.

Great book!
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Helpful Score: 1
Torrid novel of three friends from Boston. One man's life was altered by a childhood trauma. Another man become a homicide detective, the other a reformed master thief. When one man's daughter is murdered, the three men's lives again intersect at a point which will lead to tragedy, shattering revelations and a true test of friendship and commitment. Brooding,psychological and powerful.
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Helpful Score: 1
The book came before the movie, and it's at least as powerful. This is the ideal book for swapping: you'll never need to read it again because you'll never forget it.
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"One powerful, wrenching tale of murder, revenge, the meaning of friendship, and the vagaries of fate..." USA Today
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very good book...kept my interest throughout, better than the movie. Lots of character developement, good story line.
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I very much enjoyed this book, suspensful until the very end. Better then the movie by far.
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My first book of Lehane...I really enjoyed this mystery!
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movie is based on this book
reviewed Mystic River on + 28 more book reviews
Loved this book.
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Great story--murder mystery but more of a psychological profile of three very different men
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A dark novel of boyhood friends and enemies whose lives are tragically intertwined as adults. Makes you remember all the "What Ifs" in your life. A great read. No wonder the movie was a hit.
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Much better than the movie. more character development.
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Excellent film and book.
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Mystic River is a must-read and WAY better than the movie. It is disturbing and not for those who are disturbed by crimes against children. It left me feeling unsettled.
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This is an amazing and haunting book, wonderfully developed characters and horrifying, electrifying plot. Harsh, brutal, astonishing and unforgettable. Highly recommended.
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When I started this book I thought I was in for yet another Irish-in-Boston saga about a subculture ruled by poverty, violence, family, and the Church. That was true, but only in part. Lehane constantly surprised me by how much more than that he packed into the pages.

The setting was well described, the writing competent, the plot interesting and complex enough to make this better than just an average mystery. It seemed like a series of short stories at first, but drew me in as Lehane slowly forged connections between the various parts. Mostly, though, it was the unforgettable and exceptionally well drawn characters that really set the book apart. Typical petty criminals, traditional housewives and mothers, street kids, cynical cops, all were often amazingly subtle and complex, and not at all what I expected.

Overall, a completely engrossing story. It took me a long time to get around to Lehane and Mystic River, but I'm very glad I finally did.
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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened - something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever. A good read, very chilling, however.
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I'd never read a Dennis Lehane book before, but I loved this one so much I'll be reading more. The story kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what would happen next and there was no predictability to this story. I was hooked from the minute I started it and I didn't want it to end.
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One of the best books I have read. DO NOT bother with the movie.
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Dennis Lehane creates a compelling story while also developing the characters fully.

Great novel for people who enjoy both mysteries and literary fiction.
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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened-something that ended their frindship and changed all three boys forever.
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I really enjoyed this book and the characters in it. The book takes some twists and turns, but is easy to follow.
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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened...
Very good - extreme language though. Made you care what happened to the characters.
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Follows the movie with a lot more depth. Dark.
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I enjoy this type of suspense novel. It was a page turner and I enjoyed reading it.
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I love this book. I saw the movie first, which I thought was great, and then wanted to read the novel. The movie is very faithful to the book, by the way. Very moving.
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I enjoyed this book, complex yet satisfying read.
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This was really a good book. Kept my interest til the end.
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This is the first book I've read by Dennis Lehane. The teaser on the back of the book is what attracted me to this book - and it did not disappoint!
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Between the movie and book, the book is way better-author really goes into a lot of character development that is so obviously missing from the movie. This UNABRIDGED CASSETTE book is 15 hrs long
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This was my book of the month for October! A murder mystery but much more and deeper than most murder mysteries as the people are much more real and their death is much more felt and more final. Great story, I give it 4 stars!
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Excellent.
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A very good mystery and suspense read. When Sean, Jimmy, and Dave were little kids a strange cur pulled into they street and one of the boys got into the car. Something terrible happened which ended their friendship forever, and now years later a murder has begun to tie them together again. Very suspenseful and even better than the movie.
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A fun read! Extra good if you're from Boston.
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Haunting suspense novel about three men who were once friends and who share a horrible secret. I'm told that the movie version is terrific.
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This book was very good. Better than the movie!
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Very good read....the movie followed the book almost verbatim.
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One of his best books...
The daughter of one of Sean Devines old childhood friends is found murdered in a park. One of the suspects is another childhood friend.
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-----A New York Times #1 Bestseller-----
When they were childern,Sean,Jimmy and Dave were friends.But then a strange car pulled up to their street.One boy got into the car,two did not,and something terrible happened-something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.
Now,years later,murder has tied their lives together again...
reviewed Mystic River on + 579 more book reviews
when they were children sean,jimmy,and dave were friends, but a strange car pulled up to their street. one boy got in the car, two did not. and somrthing terrible happened something that ended their friendship
reviewed Mystic River on + 3 more book reviews
The book is always better that the movie. It is about the different paths three boys who have grown into men have taken and how they after all these years still intertwine due to a murder in a town. great book
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The movie was compelling, the book is more so.
There are spine creases on the book; but otherwise
in excellent shape.
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Loved this book, and the move was just as good
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Good Book Good movie
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i read this after the movie came out. i still have not seen the movie. i really liked the book but i think the hype of the movie may have had my expectations too high..a good read tho'
my favorite Deaver book is Blue Nowhere
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Extremely good!
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better than the movie, an excellent read!
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Spawned award winning movie. Excellent mystery!
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Great book, awesome characters and story.
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Excellent book!
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One of Lehane's best
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A great mystery!
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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrrible happened-something that ended their friendship and changged all three boys forever.
Now, years later, murder has tied their lives together again...
reviewed Mystic River on + 173 more book reviews
When they were childern,Sean,Jimmy and Dave were friends.But then a strange car pulled up to their street.One boy got into the car,two did not,and something terrible happened-something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.
Now,years later,murder has tied their lives together again...
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Good book!
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This is a story of 3 boys who are friends in childhood, and the different directions their lives take. Murder brings them back together as adults. Pretty suspenseful.
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I enjoyed this book alot. Very suspenseful, and good to read even if you HAVE seen the movie!
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I too saw the movie first and liked it, but felt like there was something I was just not getting. Later on I read the book and felt like Dave's character got robbed of a story line in the movie. While the movie focuses primarily on Jimmy, the book clearly belongs to Dave. It's an awesome tale. Tragic and multi-dimensional.
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I'm glad I read Mystic River I always catch the end part of movie. excellent read.
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This was a really good book but if you seen the movie then theres no point in reading the book its almost word for word to the movie.
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Great audio.
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After a horrible event takes place to three boys when they are children, they grow apart and become adults with their own lives, but still living in the same city. Years later, one of the now-adult boys daughters is murdered and the detective is one of the other boys. Their lives are once again brought together in an interesting and complex way. An attention-grabbing ending answers some questions, but leaves others open. Ive never seen the movie that has subsequently been made from this book, so I have no idea how closely it follows the story. The book, however, is very good and Ill see about reading more of Dennis Lehanes work.
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Much better than the movie.
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I know this book and the movie was very popular; however to be perfectly honest, I was less than impressed. Different strokes for different folks...
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Started a little slow, but once it got going, it was hard to put down! I haven't seen the movie yet, but the book was very "real-life" in its approach to people's motives, reasonings, emotions. Definitely worth reading.
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Great book, really keeps you guessing. Much better than the movie, so read it before viewing.
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This is the book that the movie was based on. Book is much better than the movie!
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Nothing like listening to it.
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This is one of the best books I have ever read, I think it is better than the movie!
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I don't normally read Dennis Lehane but picked this up because Nick Hornby raved about it in an essay. This is a fast read--had some good twists and turns--pretty well written. Definitely thumbs up.
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The movie starred Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. Men who had been friends as boys are drawn back together by a murder. Very well written.
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Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors. He manages to bring the characters to life and the readers feel their pain and joy as if they are members of their families. This book is very compelling and the best Lehane yet. It centers around a troubling situation (a parents worst nightmare) and alters the lives of three young friends. As it nears a horrible outcome-you will not be able to put the book down!
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Dark but compelling
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"A literary murder mystery of the highest order...The way this story unfolds and wraps itself around your innermost fears makes it a gut-clenching winner" USA Today
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Very intense book to read.
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great book. I really loved it.
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This powerful novel haunts you long after you're finished.
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Excellent read. I have not seen the movie yet, but I will now that I have read the book.
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Dark, but so well written that it really is a page turner.
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I know that I am pretty much alone in this review, but I just could not get into this book. I found myself not caring about what happened to characters and the writing rambled for me. This was my first attempt at a Dennis Lahane book and at this rate (my TBR a mountain) it will likely be my last for a long time.
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While I haven't seen the Oscar-nominated movie based on Lehane's book, the book itself is terrific. Three boys are forever changed when one of them, David Boyle, is abducted by two men at a young age. He returns days later but nothing remains the same. One of the boys, Jimmy, is a former criminal who's seemingly eager to get back into that world when his nineteen-year-old daughter Katie is murdered in a local park. David is immediately suspected, even by his wife, but the eventual revelation of the real killers is shocking. Meanwhile, Sean has become a detective and now faces the unpleasant task of possibly arresting David for Katie's murder and dealing with Jimmy's simmering rage. The descriptions of the neighborhoods are great and while some characters seem adrift in hopelessness, Lehane's writing elevates this story from thriller to literature. There are great descriptions of family, love, and home. An excellent book by all accounts, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Lehane's work.
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Nice murder mystery. I've read better Lehane stories, though, like Shutter Island and his newest The Given Day.
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Really great book! Wow, super page turner.
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I liked this book because I could relate to the after effects of Dave's trauma. But I didn't want to believe that he couldn't change and make a better future for himself.
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One of the best mystery novels I've read. Not the formulaic, usual "mysteries" that leave you disappointed at the end. Great characters! The movie is excellent also.
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Really good book! Couldn't put it down. He not only writes a good thriller he delves into the emotional tole and pasts of each of the individuals. A very mature read. Can't go wrong with this one.
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Every word of this novel rings genuine.
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Better than the movie, and the movie was very good.
"powerful, wrenching tale of murder, revenge, the meaning of friendship and the vagaries of fate.." Very real and a bit haunting.
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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened--something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever. Now, years later, murder has tied their lives together again.
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Great story line! Lots of action, hard to put down. Adult language.
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Did not like this book
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Loved the book, kept my interest
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I loved this book. It twists keeped me reading all night.
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Lehane's best book
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Very heavy. but so well done you can't help but empathize with the characters. Very compelling story (even if sad).
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Great book, much better than the movie. Young boys who start out as friends grow up to be very different men. Murder, revenge and fate all play a part in this story.
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Intense literary murder mystery set in Boston area. Working class cop struggles with members from his past. GREAT!
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I love Dennis Lehane and the unexpected journeys he leads me on in his books. As of now I have only read 2 - this one and Shutter Island. Mystic River is intriguing, but it will take something profound to top Shutter Island. I am in the process of gathering more of his books.

Mystic River is set in a part of Massachusetts that I am not at all familiar with and Lehane's description brings it alive for me. I admire his character's rather than like them. He sets up a surprise that I never saw coming even though I was looking for it and I excitedly anticipate reading more of his books. I also want to see the film that was based on this story. Don't believe it can outdo Shutter Island.
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Great book!
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The book is even better than the movie.
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Beautifully written. A wrenching tale of murder, betrayal, revenge, and the meaning of friendship. Engrossing book.
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ummmm..saw the movie first (unusual for me); however, the book was good, but in this case, I liked the movie better (also unusual for me).
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my favorite Lehane book so far.... really good, especially if you live in or are familiar with the Boston area.... now i want to see the movie!
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This is the story of 3 young boys whose lives were changed when one was abducted. I usually don't like murder/mysteries, but this one, although it seemed a little slow at first, became one of those I couldn't wait to get back to. The ending has a surprise twist. I liked it well enought that I have ordered another book by the same author.
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Really really good.
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Better than the movie.
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This was a really good book as always the book is much better then the movie. I would highly recommend this book. If you liked the movie then you should read the book.
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good story
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Very well done thriller. Yes, it is better than the movie!
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This is a good story. Lehane has a great way of making the characters come to life.
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Better than the movie!
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I loved this book. I watched the movie after I read the book, and it did not do the book complete justice. Very compelling read.
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A very good story with a bit of a twist at the end.
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A great read, a look into the complex lives of its characters.
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Lehane's books are more violent than I usually read.
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Twenty-five years ago, Dave Boyle got into a car. When he came back four days later, he was different in a way that destroyed his friendship with Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus. Now Sean's a cop, Jimmy's a store owner with a prison record and mob connections, and Dave's trying hard to keep his demons safely submerged. When Jimmy's daughter Katie is found murdered, each of the men must confront a past that none is eager to acknowledge. Lehane tugs delicately on the strands that weave this neighborhood together, testing for their strengths and weaknesses; this novel seems as much anthropological case study as thriller.
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One of my favorite authors.
This is a great one.
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Great character-driven drama/mystery!
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When they were children, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus and Dave Boyle were friends. But then a strange car pulled up to their street. One boy got into the car, two did not, and something terrible happened - something that ended their friendship and changed all three boys forever.
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Missing it's dust cover, but in great shape!