The Corner

Summer Reading

Knocked off Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane, late last night. I’m not sure I’ve read another suspense novel that’s so driven by characters, rather than plot. To be sure, there’s a murder, one of the main characters is a homicide cop, etc.–but the characters are what kept me turning the pages. The writing is crisp and vivid, too. I really liked this line near the front of the book: “Brendan Harris loved Katie Marcus like crazy, loved her like movie love, with an orchestra booming through his blood and flooding his ears.” The book also includes lots of nice dialogue and bits of street wisdom. Try this: “Guy in prison says to me once, he says, ‘Happiness comes in moments, and then it’s gone until the next time. Could be years. But sadness–sadness settles in.’” If you enjoy popular fiction that’s also literate, try Mystic River. And maybe do it before September, when the movie version directed by Clint Eastwood comes out.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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