Sometimes a writer is so identified with a place that the particular geographic locale becomes almost a character in the author’s books. Such is the case with mystery and thriller writer Dennis Lehane. Born into an Irish family in Boston, he still calls Bean Town his home. Many of his novels and screenplays are set there among its working class residents. The Lehane titles on the shelves of the Monrovia Public Library demonstrate the variety of formats offered by the Library: regular and large print, in Spanish translation and on CD and DVD.
Lehane’s breakthrough book was Mystic River, the story of three childhood friends who grow apart after one of them is abducted. The past returns in mysterious and damaging ways when a recent murder recalls what happened years ago. Sharing the same darkness that permeates Mystic River is Shutter Island, which also relies in Lehane’s interest in terror. It is the story of some police officers who go to an insane asylum in an out-of-the-way place to investigate the case of a missing patient. Murder, mayhem and mystery unravel in the thrilling novel. Director Martin Scorsese directed the film adaptation, on DVD at the Library.
The Patrick Kenzie-Angela Gennaro titles by Lehane are a series of books showcasing two young and savvy Boston private investigators. The series includes Gone Baby Gone and Midnight Mile, both about the recurring theme of missing children.
In two other books, Lehane steps out of his natural habitat of place and time. Coronado is a book of short stories, both tragic and comic. His latest, 2015’s World Gone By is about a crime set in World War II that takes place in Florida and Cuba.