Dennis Lehane was born on August 4, 1965. The youngest of five children, Lehane is a first-generation Irish-American who grew up in the tough Boston neighborhood of Dorchester. Lehane’s novels resonate with the sounds, sights, smells, and people of this particular patch. His first novel A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR features private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, and garned Lehane the 1995 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel. The series continued with DARKNESS, TAKE MY HAND (1996), SACRED (1997), GONE BABY GONE (1999), PRAYERS FOR RAIN (1999), and after readers waited 11 long years, MOONLIGHT MILE (2010).

Lehane’s first stand-alone novel MYSTIC RIVER (2001) was enormously successful, a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award, and winning the Anthony Award, and the Barry Award for Best Novel, as well as the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, and the Prix Mystère de la Critique. in France. (Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation was nominated for 6 Oscars; Sean Penn won for Best Actor, and Tim Robbins won for Best Supporting Actor.) MYSTIC RIVER manages to be both a cutting edge thriller and a Greek tragedy. In 2003 SHUTTER ISLAND was published. The author pulled off more mirror tricks than Orson Welles did in The Lady From Shanghai, and the novel is a formidable examination of madness in post-WWII. (Martin Scorcese did the screen adaptation, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.) Dennis Lehane turned his attention to television in 2004 when he became one of the writers for THE WIRE, which is considered by many critics and viewers to be the greatest television drama ever made. He and the rest of the writing staff were awarded the 2007 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Dramatic Series as well as that year’s Edgar Award for Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay.

CORONADO: STORIES (2006) showcased Lehane’s talent for short fiction and drama with five short stories (the fifth, “Until Gwen” originally appeared in The Atlantic and was published here as a stage adaptation). Then there is Lehane’s epic masterpiece THE GIVEN DAY, set in post-World War I Boston, and including many real historical figures as characters. Picture Boardwalk Empire set in Beantown. Actually, don’t. Go read all of Dennis Lehane’s books.

2 thoughts on “Footnotes: August 4”

  1. GREAT post, Maura. I admit to only having read Shutter Island and Mystic River, but Lehane is definitely a tour de force. Love this. 🙂

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