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Mystic River    by Dennis Lehane order for
Mystic River
by Dennis Lehane
Order:  USA  Can
HarperTorch, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Three young boys (Dave, Sean and Jimmy) scuffle in the street. A car approaches. Two men, purporting to be policemen, abduct eleven-year-old Dave and keep him in a basement for four days, while they use him for their own twisted pleasure. Dave escapes from these pedophiles only to find that his world has crashed around him. Life is never the same. Neither is Dave. Years later, after Jimmy's daughter is murdered, Jimmy, Sean and Dave appear once again in each other's lives.

Dennis Lehane takes a break from his mystery series (featuring private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro) to present the reader with a fast moving, tightly written, very suspenseful, stand alone tale. In it, he shows how the past is always with us and moulds our futures; how unkind or cruel acts can have repercussions throughout a lifetime to pop in front of us when least expected, or wanted.

The players in this drama are believable, with their attributes and many flaws hanging out there for the reader to see. The weaving of their lives together held me in thrall. So finely tuned are their characterizations that, while there are numerous important persons, I had no trouble keeping them straight in my mind. In particular, Lehane's portrayal of Dave, the pedophiles' victim, is both understanding and caring, while not masking the horror the man fights every day.

Mystic River kept me reading far into the night - turning page after page to find out whodunit.

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