Dennis Lehane

The master of Boston noir on three books that kept him riveted.

Finding his native Boston as richly layered a territory for shadowy intrigue as Chandler did L. A., Dennis Lehane artfully spins tales of tough kids and wise guys that leap off the page—most famously in his standalone novel Mystic River, but also in his bestselling series featuring private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro. In his most recent novel, the gripping Moonlight Mile, the pair revisit an old case of a child’s disappearance when the girl they rescued at age four goes missing again, as a teenager. Below, Dennis Lehane offers three recommendations for great reading.

Books by Dennis Lehane


By Nic Pizzolatto

“The best roman noir I’ve read in a decade. It’s dark, brutal, sexy, sad, and filled with so much drop-dead gorgeous writing that I felt authentic envy while reading it. I’m not sure there was a true bad guy in it; I know there were no good guys. Just people, in all their comic tragedy and tragic comedy.”

The Man Who Sold the World

By William Kleinknecht

“Having grown up in the ’80s, I was surprised to witness the subsequent deification of Ronald Reagan. He wasn’t a terrible president but he wasn’t even in the zip code of the best, either. Kleinknecht writes about the Reagan that I remember—lucky on foreign policy, a boon to the fortunes of conglomerates, media titans, and the upper class, and a nightmare on social issues. The man gave a great speech, though, and he had a personal likability factor of a thousand squared. In the end, it seems that’s all that mattered.”

Last Night at the Lobster

By Stewart O’Nan

“A deceptively simple short novel about one man’s final night managing a Red Lobster. It’s a day-in-the-life story that speaks to every day and every man. It’s about wishing you were better and wishing you still had choices. It’s so funny and so poignant that if the final scene doesn’t choke you up, I’d visit the doctor to find out if you still have a heart.”