Just finished Dennis Lehane’s The Drop. Little wonder it’s now a major motion picture. Make sure you have a cold six-pack before you dive into the first page. This one could interfere with trips to the frig and bathroom breaks. And if your wife thinks you not paying attention now....
Bob, a bartender in the soft belly of the city, lives in a vicious world. Violence is expected. Deceit is the coin of the realm, and even your best friends can only be trusted while you stare them in the face. Love? Oh, yeah, there’s that, if that’s what it is. If it’s not really love, then what the hell, sex is good enough.
In this city, it’s better to live an empty life, as quietly as possible. Even then, you’re going to have to spend some time as a guest of the state. Bob and most of his friends have been there, done that. Of course, nobody’s guilty. It wasn’t their fault. Screw the evidence.
The police? Hey, they’ve got their own problems, at home, at work, and on the soiled streets.
Law is at best undervalued, and at worse non-existent. If you want something, take it, as long as you’ve got balls enough, and if you don’t have the balls, just shut up and pour the whiskey and try to stay in the shadows.
The biggest rule of law comes from the Chechen Mafia. Sure, swift, brutal. Not much evidence required. No court dates. No appeals.
Suddenly a dog comes into your life. A dog that needs rescuing. And a girl with her own deep scars. And the twisted man who owns the rescued dog wants him back. And, Bob, don’t forget you’re a nobody, a bartender. Not making waves is the best way to keep breathing.
Lehane’s short novel is a heart stopper. The characters couldn’t be more vivid if they swaggered through you living room. Although, you wouldn’t want them to. They should stay where they were born and where they grew up, in the squalor, on the wrong side of the filthy tracks.
The plot? Rapid. Demonic. Desperate. There’s no way out of this river of human excretion. Just keep swimming, look around, and hold your head higher than the swiftly moving current. Feel your heart racing? Your pulse starting to feel like a tom-tom? Get used to it. The more pages you turn, the faster it gets.
Faith helps, especially when its core is faith in yourself. Faith in God? Yeah, even if that God is diminished by time and human frailty.
In slightly more than two hundred pages, this book will grab you by the throat, and toss you into a greedy world where only the darkly powerful, or the very lucky survive. And, sometimes you just can’t count on the luck. Or love. Or faith. At least not from the humans.