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by Dennis Lehane

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Though best known for his hugely successful novels such as Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has been publishing his short stories in a wide variety of publications for years. "Until Gwen" was published in the Atlantic Monthly in June, 2005, and has now been adapted into the play Coronado which opened in Manhattan in November,


Though best known for his hugely successful novels such as Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has been publishing his short stories in a wide variety of publications for years. "Until Gwen" was published in the Atlantic Monthly in June, 2005, and has now been adapted into the play Coronado which opened in Manhattan in November, 2005. "Running Out of Dog" was featured in the anthologies

Best American Mystery Stories 2005, as well as Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. This collection compiles the best of Lehane's previously published short stories, as well as one completely new tale.

Full of the same riveting storytelling that has made his novels so popular, as well as some more literary material, this collection of Dennis Lehane's short stories is sure to satisfy the author's large fanbase.

Editorial Reviews
One of our favorite writers, Dennis Lehane, slips the bonds of his Boston-based mysteries with a terrific collection of short fiction that reinforces his reputation as a "master of the new noir." The settings may be different (two stories are set south of the Mason-Dixon Line), but these works crackle with the same narrative tension that electrifies the Kenzie and Genarro detective series, as well as stand-alone thrillers like Mystic River. Included among the five short stories is a disturbing set piece called "Until Gwen," which the author has expanded into a two-act play that caps Coronado and gives the anthology its title. Here's proof (as if we needed it!) that Dennis Lehane's talents extend beyond genre fiction into the realm of bona fide literature.
Coronado collects the best of Dennis Lehane's previously published short stories and adds one new one. Among these small-town tales is "Until Gwen," a narrative that appears in two versions: as a short story and as the two-act drama that appeared on the New York stage as Coronado.
Coronado collects the best of Dennis Lehane's previously published short stories and adds one new one. Among these small-town tales is "Until Gwen," a narrative that appears in two versions: as a short story and as the two-act drama that appeared on the New York stage as Coronado.
Patrick Anderson
The raw, surprising tales of passion and violence in Dennis Lehane's new collection remind us anew why he is one of the most interesting young writers in America today … If you've never read Lehane, you probably should start with Mystic River, but if you're already a fan, you'll savor this new glimpse into one of the most unpredictable minds in current American fiction.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Tucci, the chameleon character actor and director best known for disappearing entirely into his roles, offers up his bone-dry, world-weary take on Lehane's collection of nonmystery stories. Tucci reads Lehane's somber stories with the greatest subtlety, only occasionally leaving a mark by emphasizing a lone word or leaning into Lehane's prose with a stray vocal twang. Treating Lehane's stories as an actorly challenge rather than an extra paycheck, Tucci gives his reading his all by always holding something back, as if there were other words left unsaid between the lines of what could be articulated. Tucci's fine reading, understated and elegant, is accompanied by a wide-ranging interview with Lehane, in which the author discusses his play Coronado (adapted from the story "Until Gwen," and which gives this collection its title), his feelings about adaptations of his novels and writing for HBO's The Wire. Simultaneous release with the William Morrow hardcover (Reviews, June 19). (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Long before he became well known for Mystic River (2001), Lehane was writing short stories and teaching creative writing. This modest-sized volume of five previously published stories and a two-act play aptly show off his talents. There's not a wasted word in these dark, spare tales about disenfranchised males of the South. "Until Gwen" moves like a chess game, pitting a heartbroken Bobby against his amoral father. Readers can appreciate it even more after reading Coronado. The play brings seemingly unrelated characters together in a bar (plenty of drinking and gun toting in these stories), and Lehane cleverly weaves them together, watching to see if we can figure out the crime. Just what is the ultimate crime ("What's worse than murder?" asks one character) might be the author's main theme, as Bobby, Elgin, Blue, and the others repeatedly flail against some tide they cannot control. Highly recommended for those who appreciate the psychological fiction of Pete Dexter and George Pelecanos and essential for libraries populated by aspiring screenwriters and playwrights. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 5/1/06.]-Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In this collection of five short stories and a brief play, Lehane assembles a disparate cast, yet each individual takes part in a similar search for something elusive. In "ICU," Daniel is hunted down by assailants and must hide in a hospital waiting room to survive. "Until Gwen" reunites a young man just released from prison with the father who corrupted him. Several of the pieces are set in the South, and their pacing is infused with the slowness of a Southern drawl. The mastery of the author's storytelling lies in his ability to create atmosphere. His characters are defined by the mood of the world around them, a world that is often confining and in which hope is thrown aside in favor of a grim pragmatism. Lehane populates his stories with people who are ordinary and reveals the extraordinary complexity of their lives. The decisions they face are unenviable and their choices somehow unavoidable. The author invents nuanced relationships in which murder and betrayal become acts of loyalty and friendship. Each story introduces a touch of the unlikely or unfortunate into otherwise mundane circumstances, then relays the consequences as events unfold. Haunting imagery lingers long after the book is closed.-Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tough-as-nails crime fiction transcends genre in this first collection of five stories and a play (developed from one of them) from the Boston-area novelist (Sacred, 1997, etc.). One hopes Clint Eastwood (who directed the Oscar-winning film based on Lehane's superb Mystic River, 2001) will take a close look at "Running Out of Dog," a pungent slice of Southern Gothic noir populated by runaway canines, restless Vietnam vets and the alluring women who seduce them into one another's paths, fateful confrontations, and a savage fulfillment of its narrator's observation that "when hope comes late to a man, it's a dangerous thing." This one is a classic: Robert Stone at his most unrelenting, with nerve-grating additional material contributed by Jim Thompson and dialogue by George V. Higgins. Lehane shows his talent for narrative economy in a brisk tale of revenge for drug-induced manslaughter ("Mushrooms") and a surprisingly rich account ("Gone Down to Corpus") of Texas high-school football jocks trashing the elegant homes of their "betters," their destructive energies propelled by what the story's narrator calls "something . . . I'm mad at, something I can't put a name to." The taut, disturbing "Until Gwen" employs grating, accusatory second-person narration to explore the murderous bonds linking a soulless con man, his hapless son (and sometime accomplice) and Gwen, whose fate drives the story toward its excruciating conclusion. And if all this weren't sufficient evidence of Lehane's virtuosity, there's "Coronado," which expands "Until Gwen" into a two-act play (premiered in New York in 2005) that reshuffles its aforementioned characters into three doomed couples who enact amurderous and suicidal progression through dynamic action, detailed flashbacks and harrowing fantasy sequences. It's a knockout performance. An impressive step forward for a writer of commanding gifts, who seems poised on the threshold of even greater accomplishment.
Daily News
“the stuff of a reliable pro”
Entertainment Weekly
“Lehane has a startling capacity for assessing broken people ”
USA Today
“[Dennis Lehane is} an author whose stories make us dig down unto our own hopes and fears.”
Boston Herald
“a brilliant, insightful and intriguing literary voyage”
San Jose Mercury News
“the kind of lyrical writing that is to literature what John Prine and Tom Waits are to music.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Coronado LP

By Dennis Lehane

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Dennis Lehane
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061145963

Chapter One

This thing with Blue and the dogs and Elgin Bern happened a while back, a few years after some of our boys--like Elgin Bern and Cal Sears--came back from Vietnam, and a lot of others--like Eddie Vorey and Carl Joe Carol, the Stewart cousins--didn't. We don't know how it worked in other towns, but that war put something secret in our boys who returned. Something quiet and untouchable. You sensed they knew things they'd never say, did things on the sly you'd never discover. Great cardplayers, those boys, able to bluff with the best, let no joy show in their face no matter what they were holding.

A small town is a hard place to keep a secret, and a small southern town with all that heat and all those open windows is an even harder place than most. But those boys who came back from overseas, they seemed to have mastered the trick of privacy. And the way it's always been in this town, you get a sizeable crop of young, hard men coming up at the same time, they sort of set the tone.

So, not long after the war, we were a quieter town, a less trusting one (or so some seemed to think), and that's right when tobacco money and textile money reached a sort of critical mass and created construction money and pretty soon there was talk that our small town should maybe get a little bigger,maybe build something that would bring in more tourist dollars than we'd been getting from fireworks and pecans.

That's when some folks came up with this Eden Falls idea--a big carnival-type park with roller coasters and water slides and such. Why should all those Yankees spend all their money in Florida? South Carolina had sun too. Had golf courses and grapefruit and no end of KOA campgrounds.

So now a little town called Eden was going to have Eden Falls. We were going to be on the map, people said. We were going to be in all the brochures. We were small now, people said, but just you wait. Just you wait.

And that's how things stood back then, the year Perkin and Jewel Lut's marriage hit a few bumps and Elgin Bern took up with Shelley Briggs and no one seemed able to hold onto their dogs.

The problem with dogs in Eden, South Carolina, was that the owners who bred them bred a lot of them. Or they allowed them to run free where they met up with other dogs of opposite gender and achieved the same result. This wouldn't have been so bad if Eden weren't so close to I-95, and if the dogs weren't in the habit of bolting into traffic and fucking up the bumpers of potential tourists.

The mayor, Big Bobby Vargas, went to a mayoral conference up in Beaufort, where the governor made a surprise appearance to tell everyone how pissed off he was about this dog thing. Lot of money being poured into Eden these days, the governor said, lot of steps being taken to change her image, and he for one would be goddamned if a bunch of misbehaving canines was going to mess all that up.

"Boys," he'd said, looking Big Bobby Vargas dead in the eye, "they're starting to call this state the Devil's Kennel 'cause of them pooch corpses along the interstate. And I don't know about you-all, but I don't think that's a real pretty name."

Big Bobby told Elgin and Blue he'd never heard anyone call it the Devil's Kennel in his life. Heard a lot worse, sure, but never that. Big Bobby said the governor was full of shit. But, being the governor and all, he was sort of entitled.

The dogs in Eden had been a problem going back to the twenties and a part-time breeder named J. Mallon Ellenburg who, if his arms weren't up to their elbows in the guts of the tractors and combines he repaired for a living, was usually lashing out at something--his family when they weren't quick enough, his dogs when the family was. J. Mallon Ellenburg's dogs were mixed breeds and mongrels and they ran in packs, as did their offspring, and several generations later, those packs still moved through the Eden night like wolves, their bodies stripped to muscle and gristle, tense and angry, growling in the dark at J. Mallon Ellenburg's ghost.

Big Bobby went to the trouble of measuring exactly how much of 95 crossed through Eden, and he came up with 2.8 miles. Not much really, but still an average of .74 dog a day or 4.9 dogs a week. Big Bobby wanted the rest of the state funds the governor was going to be doling out at year's end, and if that meant getting rid of five dogs a week, give or take, then that's what was going to get done.

"On the QT," he said to Elgin and Blue, "on the QT, what we going to do, boys, is set up in some trees and shoot every canine who gets within barking distance of that interstate."

Elgin didn't much like this "we" stuff. First place, Big Bobby'd said "we" that time in Double O's four years ago. This was before he'd become mayor, when he was nothing more than a county tax assessor who shot pool at Double O's every other night, same as Elgin and Blue. But one night, after Harlan and Chub Uke had roughed him up over a matter of some pocket change, and knowing that neither Elgin nor Blue was too fond of the Uke family either, Big Bobby'd said, "We going to settle those boys' asses tonight," and started running his mouth the minute the brothers entered the bar.

Time the smoke cleared, Blue had a broken hand, Harlan and Chub were curled up on the floor, and Elgin's lip was busted. Big Bobby, meanwhile, was . . .


Excerpted from Coronado LP by Dennis Lehane Copyright © 2006 by Dennis Lehane. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Dennis Lehane is the author of ten previous novels—including the New York Times bestsellers Live by Night; Moonlight Mile; Gone, Baby, Gone; Mystic River; Shutter Island; and The Given Day—as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. He lives in California with his family.

Brief Biography

Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
August 4, 1965
Place of Birth:
Dorchester, Massachusetts
B.A., Eckerd College, 1988; M.F.A., Florida International University, 1993

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3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Conrad More than 1 year ago
A book I will never forget it
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This book is so different from Lehane's other books. I enjoyed it, but it took finishing the entire book for all the pieces to come together. I can imagine that the play was much easier to follow than the book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Obviously the short story format is a different animal than the Kenzie/Gennaro serial novels, so I can understand some fans' lack of enthusiasm. But judged on its own merits, this is possibly Lehane's best work. The play, 'Coronado' in particular was excellent. Overall a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...But it was still excellent. I have never been a big fan of short stories but these were very good, as was the play. Dennis Lehane is my favorite author and while I eagerly anticipate a new novel, Coronado didn't disappoint me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoy Dennis Lahane's needless to say, I was very eager to read Coronado. The 1st short story was o.k.. I don't even remember the 2nd and by the time I finished the 3rd, I was very dissapointed. I didn't even bother to finish the book. This is the only Lahane book I did not like. The stories went nowhere and were less then memerable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This collection is not as great as I expected, keeping in mind the great novels such as Mystic River and Shutter Island. The first story, Running out of Dogs, is memorable and good. It reminds me of Paul Auster or Peter Straub, in their best times. But the rest of the book is pointless and boring. A real let down! Read Glen Hishberg instead.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've been waiting for a new Dennis LeHane book for the longest time and couldn't wait to read this one. I liked 'Running Out of Dog' but then the next three stories were pretty flat and not all that interesting. He did finish stronger with 'Until Gwen' and 'Coronado' but I was left wanting more. Hopefully we won't have to wait another two years for his next book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
'Running Out of Dog'. Elgin and Cal returned from Nam to their hometown of Eden, South Carolina while others made it back in a body bag. Both resent that the sons of the wealthy who stayed home. Elgin is seeing two women, one of which Jewel is the wife of .an affluent stayd at home son that can only lead to the war coming to Eden. --- ¿ICU¿. Daniel is stunned when the woman at the bar tells him to leave her alone as a man warned her about him. Next he loses his job and his ex-wife says he cannot have the kids as planned both because of the man. Daniel dubs the man Troy even while his dad enters ICU. There he meets former KGB Michael whose mom is also in the hospital --- 'Mushrooms¿. In New England, they dropped GHB before KL gives his girlfriend the gun. Now the drug is taking over making it easier to commit manslaughter. --- 'Gone Down to Corpus'. In 1970 remote Texas drunken high school football players break into and devastate the home of wealthy teammate Lyle, who dropped the big pass before his younger sister joins the revelry that turns even uglier. --- 'Until Gwen'. After four years of incarceration Father picks up his newly released son at the prison in a stolen car with a hooker in the back seat. Father demands the stolen loot his son hid while the ex-convict wants to see his girlfriend, Gwen. --- ¿Coronado¿. This is a two act play version of ¿Until Gwen¿. --- These five noir short stories and play showcase the vast talent of Dennis Lehane as each are solid thrillers starring characters either in trouble or about to cause trouble. Fans of the author will appreciate the collection and newcomers will enjoy this fine introduction. --- Harriet Klausner