Image of The Given Day


Image of The Given Day

Lehane (Mystic River), known for his gritty and psychologically dense modern-day novels usually based in Boston, pens a love letter to his hometown's dirty past. This weighty novel examines racism, power politics and family dynamics in the early 1900s, but the narrative and the characters' concerns read as if they happened last week. Some of that may be due to 1918-era characters dropping the F-bomb a little too frequently, but Lehane keeps you riveted with this intertwined story of two everyday guys -- one black, one white -- and their struggle to survive.

Near the end of World War I, white Boston cop Danny Coughlin and Luther Lawrence, a black man on the run after murdering a man in Tulsa, cross paths. Danny struggles to prove himself to his police captain father; Luther fights racism and more than one lethal enemy. Lehane places both men against the backdrop of labor union-busting, red-baiting, bomb-throwing anarchists, the Boston policemen's strike of 1919 and Babe Ruth himself. (Morrow, Oct., 704 pp., $27.95)
Reviewed by: 
Liz French