A Drink Before the War
Winner of the Shamus Award in 1994 for Best First Detective Novel.
As richly complex and brutal as the terrain it depicts, here is the mesmerizing, darkly original novel that heralded the arrival of Dennis Lehane, the master of the new noir—and introduced Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, his smart and tough private investigators weaned on the blue-collar streets of Dorchester.
A cabal of powerful Boston politicians is willing to pay Kenzie and Gennaro big money for a seemingly small job: to find a missing cleaning woman who stole some secret documents. As Kenzie and Gennaro learn, however, this crime is no ordinary theft. It’s about justice, about right and wrong. But in Boston, finding the truth isn’t just a dirty business . . . it’s deadly.
"In this first novel, set in Boston, violence swirls around narrator Patrick Kenzie and partner Angleo Gennaro. This intrepid investigative duo are hired by two state senators to locate a black cleaning woman who filched several sensitive "documents." They find her easily enough, but the items she took, which point to child prostitution and political corruption, cause gang warfare and murder. Lehane's minimal use of literary references helps establish character, as do his frequent allusions to child abuse and wife battering. Rough and tumble action for a high energy, likable pair."