Review: Small Mercies – Dennis Lehane

Small Mercies

Dennis Lehane

Abacus Books

Hachette Australia

ISBN:9780349145761

RRP $32.99

Description:

The brilliant new novel from New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane.

Small Mercies is thought provoking, engaging, enraging, and can’t-put-it-down entertainment’ Stephen King

‘A jaw-dropping thriller… a resonant, unflinching story written by a novelist who is simply one of the best around’ Gillian Flynn


New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane returns with a masterpiece to rival Mystic River – an all-consuming tale of revenge, family love, festering hate, and insidious power, set against one of the most tumultuous episodes in Boston’s history.

‘Mrs. Fennessy, please go home.’
‘And do what?’
‘Whatever you do when you’re home.’
‘And then what?’
‘Get up the next day and do it again.’
She shakes her head. ‘That’s not living.’
‘It is if you can find the small blessings.’
She smiles, but her eyes shine with agony. ‘All my small blessings are gone.’

In the summer of 1974 a heatwave blankets Boston and Mary Pat Fennessey is trying to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors. Mary Pat has lived her entire life in the housing projects of ‘Southie’, the Irish American enclave that stubbornly adheres to old tradition and stands proudly apart.

One night Mary Pat’s teenage daughter Jules stays out late and doesn’t come home. That same evening, a young Black man is found dead, struck by a subway train under mysterious circumstances.

The two events seem unconnected. But Mary Pat, propelled by a desperate search for her missing daughter, begins turning over stones best left untouched – asking questions that bother Marty Butler, chieftain of the Irish mob, and the men who work for him, men who don’t take kindly to any threat to their business.

Set against the hot, tumultuous months when the city’s desegregation of its public schools exploded in violence, Small Mercies is a superb thriller, a brutal depiction of criminality and power, and an unflinching portrait of the dark heart of American racism.

My View:

Have you been suffering from a reading slump lately? I have, but this one has shocked me awake! It is brilliant! Touching, engaging, brutal, honest…yet ultimately hopeful. The character Mary Pat is central to unlocking this ray of hope…her love for her children is the standout feature of this read – it is fierce and burns through a lifetime of lies and manipulation allowing Mary Pat and the reader to to understand how an entire neighborhood/city has been manipulated for the personal gain of a few morally bankrupt men. Her love is an erupting volcano – sweeping aside, burning up all that dare stand in her way of finding her child. Holding these men to account is her mission. Despite all her faults we, the reader, cheer her on an enlightened Mary Pat.

Yes I loved this read. Harsh, brutal, violent, yet I loved it and read in one sitting. Dennis Lehane is a brilliant storyteller.