Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Mystic RiverWhen they were around eleven, Sean Devine, Jimmy Marcus, and David Boyle were friends. Two of their fathers would get together on Saturdays and the boys would play while the men sat around. One day, while the boys were playing out on the road in Sean’s neighborhood, an unmarked car pulled up. The two men in it said they were policemen and they took David because he wasn’t in his own neighborhood. The men weren’t policemen. They were child molesters. Four days later David was able to escape and return home. Except to celebrate his return, no one discussed what happened to him. The whole affair was ignored. The three boys didn’t play together again.
Twenty-five years later they all live in the neighborhoods where they grew up. Sean, the more affluent of the three, is now a policeman coming off suspension. He and his wife are separated Jimmy, the most adventurous of group, was in jail for burglary for two years in his early twenties. He went straight after that for his daughter from his first marriage. Now he is married again, has two more daughters, and owns a small, busy store. David became a baseball star in high school, but didn’t go on to college. He is married to a beautician, has one son, and has troubles holding down a dependable job for any length of time. These are three men who have had a rough life.
Jimmy’s beautiful 19-year-old daughter disappears one Saturday night. Her car is found abandoned by the park. Sean is one of the primary detectives assigned to the case to find out what happened to Katie. David was one of the people in one of the last bars where Katie was seen and is a possible suspect.
The narrative tone of Mystic River pulled me right in. All too often suspense novels have someone stumbling in and wondering why me? and what is going on? The tone is usually bewilderment and anger. But Mystic River, while it has those elements, instead comes from the viewpoint of three broken, hurting men.
Sean and Jimmy have always felt guilty that David was abducted and they couldn’t prevent it. Once again they are in a position where they cannot protect someone from harm, Jimmy’s daughter. There are other issues as well. Each man has personal demons from his own life that haunt him as well as conflicts or envies of each other.
Mystic River easily leads the reader along the story of suspense. What first appears as the solution to the reader then has obstructions that lead the line of reasoning another direction. The final conclusion is a surprise to all involved. Mystic River is well crafted, draws the reader through its world and leaves the reader wanting to know what happens to these men now.
Notice: Graphic violence, Strong indecent language, Suggestive dialogue or situations