On any given day, you couldn't drive me into the mystery/thriller section of my store with a cattle prod. I'm not trying to be a book snob, but crime novels, murder mysteries, and legal thrillers just don't hold my attention. I have no doubt that some of them are well-written, but the stories do not interest me.
My one roommate adores Dennis Lehane. I'm pretty sure Dennis is one of two authors that the boy will read, and has tried to get me to read it since we moved in together in August. I threw a couple of titles onto my "to read" list, but never really got around to it. Then, last week, I read "American Rust." I found the book to be only okay, despite the six pages of critical praise inside, a good chunk of which compared the book to this one. Wanting to judge the comparison, I decided to give Dennis a shot.
Mystic River tells the story of three childhood friends -- Jimmy, Sean, and Dave -- whose lives are torn apart and then thrown back together by two traumatic events twenty-five years apart. There were times when I doubted what the two had to do with each other and there were times when things seemed to be headed in an obvious direction, but Lehane ultimately weaves together his mystery in a very thoughtful and clever way. I could never accuse him of being the most gifted prose writer, but his dialogue pops off the page and helps make the characters unique and interesting. Overall, an impressive, engaging story that does not fit neatly into the "thriller" genre.