I’m currently re-reading the epic novel “The Given Day”, by Dennis Lehane.
With things being as they are just now — you know, lots more time indoors — I think it’s a good idea to re-read things we know we enjoy. Things that will take us into our reading bubble for a while.
And this is an absolutely epic book. It blew me away when I first read it in 2008.
The story begins just after the end of WWI. It follows two main characters: Aiden “Danny” Coughlin, and talented black baseball player Luther Laurence.
Danny is an Irish beat patrolman in the Boston Police Department. His father is a prominent figure in the Boston PD, and perhaps doesn’t always have his colleagues’ best interests at heart.
The patrolmen haven’t been given a raise in wages since 1905, and are working for below-poverty wages. The Boston Social Club is the policemen’s fraternal organisation, and it’s here’s they start to discuss possible union action.
Luther finds himself caught up working for a local bookie and gangster. When things go awry, he has to flee to Boston from Tulsa and finds work as a handyman for Danny’s father. That, too, comes at a price . . .
A beautifully crafted book
I won’t give anything else away other than to say the corruption that occurs goes all the way to the top of the FBI. And Lehane cleverly brings the story to life by including real-life people like baseball star Babe Ruth and FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover.
It’s an unrelenting read. And you’ll realise — and appreciate — how much research Lehane put in during the writing of this epic piece.
He took a lengthy break from his (very good) crime novels to immerse himself in the story.
Every so often my heart sinks when I hear there may be a TV series being made of this . . . but thankfully there’s not been one yet!
It’s a beautifully crafted book, although violent in parts.
It’s definitely one that will stay with you long after you’ve read the final sentence.
For more book reviews from the “Friend” team, click here.
To order “Any Given Day” from Amazon, click here.