Mystic Murders

mystic-river

When Sean Devine and Jimmy Marcus were kids, their fathers worker together at the Coleman Candy plant and carried the stench of warm chocolate back home with them.

I bought this book three years ago on the recommendation of my uncle and finally picked it up this August when he was in deep in my thoughts. The multi-award winning film adaptation of Lehane’s novel is something I have always wanted to watch but, on the advice of my uncle, have waited until reading the book.

Childhood friendships come and go but one traumatic incident in a childhood summer unites three boys forever. Sean, Jimmy and Dave may have grown up in the same town but since that shared summer they have grown apart. Jimmy is an ex-con who runs the local store, Sean is police detective and Dave is just trying to survive. When Jimmy’s daughter goes missing, Dave returns home with blood on his hands and Sean is the detective investigating the disappearance – the waters of Mystic River are about to get very muddy indeed…

This is a riveting, high-pressured thriller that becomes more claustrophobic and more tense with each turn of the page. The three men leading the story, though very different, are all unpredictable and unreliable, making for a highly charged plot, expertly written and constructed by Lehane.

The book appears to centre on the concept of are we victims or masters of our own circumstance. Would Dave have been a completely different person if he hadn’t gone in that car as a child? Would Jimmy have been less of a thug, needing to prove the power of his existence at every opportunity? Could it just have easily been Sean living with the scars? Mystic River is a gritty and gripping novel with an incredibly dark conclusion. The secrets men have and the secrets communities ignore are found on every page of this book, making for an electric plot and a Lehane fan of this reader – Shutter Island next perhaps…

4 star

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