A Review of World Gone By: A Novel by Dennis Lehane

World Gone By: A Novel

by Dennis Lehane

For some reason I had a real hard time getting into World Gone By. It’s very well written. The world that Mr. Lehane is describing rings true, and his characters are entertaining. Joe Coughlin has been featured in some of Mr. Lehane’s previous books, but this book really doesn’t feel like part of a series. The story holds up quite well on its own.

Joe Coughlin has tried to “go straight”. He has gotten out of the mob businesses and earns a good legitimate income in Florida. He is an advisor to the local underworld, but no longer considers himself connected. After he learns that someone has put out a “contract” on him, he has to go back in and try to discover who wants him eliminated. It gets a bit messy.

It took me a long time to get interested in this book. Maybe it was because I wasn’t ready for a gangster story set in 1944, or maybe it was that I hadn’t read any of Mr. Lehane’s previous works; but whatever the reason, it was a struggle getting going. The last half felt much better. I was glad that I pushed through, because it really was quite good. Most people will probably really enjoy World Gone By.

I give World Gone By a strong 4 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up. If you have read any of Mr. Lehane’s books, I’m sure you will like this one.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

World Gone ByDennis Lehane, the New York Times bestselling author of The Given Day and Live by Night, returns with a psychologically and morally complex novel of blood, crime, passion, and vengeance, set in Cuba and Ybor City, Florida, during World War II, in which Joe Coughlin must confront the cost of his criminal past and present.

Ten years have passed since Joe Coughlin’s enemies killed his wife and destroyed his empire, and much has changed. Prohibition is dead, the world is at war again, and Joe’s son, Tomás, is growing up. Now, the former crime kingpin works as a consigliore to the Bartolo crime family, traveling between Tampa and Cuba, his wife’s homeland.

A master who moves in and out of the black, white, and Cuban underworlds, Joe effortlessly mixes with Tampa’s social elite, U.S. Naval intelligence, the Lansky-Luciano mob, and the mob-financed government of Fulgencio Batista. He has everything—money, power, a beautiful mistress, and anonymity.

But success cannot protect him from the dark truth of his past—and ultimately, the wages of a lifetime of sin will finally be paid in full.

Dennis Lehane vividly recreates the rise of the mob during a world at war, from a masterfully choreographed Ash Wednesday gun battle in the streets of Ybor City to a chilling, heartbreaking climax in a Cuban sugar cane field. Told with verve and skill,  World Gone By is a superb work of historical fiction from one of “the most interesting and accomplished American novelists” (Washington Post) writing today.

Book Details

Series: Joe Coughlin Series (Book 2)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060004908
ISBN-13: 978-0060004903
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces

About the Author

Photo by Gaby Gerster / Diogenes, Zurich
Photo by Gaby Gerster / Diogenes, Zurich

Dennis Lehane grew up in the Dorchester section of Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he’s published nine more novels with William Morrow that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone Baby Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile; and Live By Night, which won the Edgar Award for Best Novel in 2013. Morrow also published Coronado, a collection of five stories and a play. Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island have been made into award-winning films, and the film rights for Live by Night are under option to Warner Bros. with Ben Affleck producing, writing, directing, and starring.

Lehane adapted his short story Animal Rescue, which appeared in “Playboy” as well as in Boston Noir, a collection published by Akashic Books, into a feature film called THE DROP for the Chernin Company and Fox Searchlight, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini. He then transformed the screenplay for THE DROP into a novel, which will be published by William Morrow in August 2014 to coincide with the film’s US release.

Lehane was a staff writer for HBO’s The Wire, and is a writer/producer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He has taught fiction and literature at the Harvard Extension School, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and Tufts University.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Mr. Lehane worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. He and his wife and children divide their time between Boston and Los Angeles.


The Book Description and Details are from Amazon. World Gone By: A Novel

One thought on “A Review of World Gone By: A Novel by Dennis Lehane”

  1. I really like Lehane’s detective stories about Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, but I can’t say the same about Coughlin series..
    But maybe if I read this one I’ll change my mind 🙂


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