World Gone By

World Gone By

3.6 19
by Dennis Lehane

See All Formats & Editions

Dennis Lehane, the New York Times bestselling author of Live by Night—now a Warner Bros. movie starring Ben Affleck—delivers a psychologically, 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


Dennis Lehane, the New York Times bestselling author of Live by Night—now a Warner Bros. movie starring Ben Affleck—delivers a psychologically, 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.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
“Lehane writes convincingly, tensely… powerfully.”
New York Daily News
“The novel’s plot is as complex as its morality.”
Associated Press Staff
“A textbook guide on how to end a series .”
Miami Herald
“Lehane has Elmore Leonard’s ear for dialogue.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Lehane’s prose is…lean, elegant and brutal.”
Chicago Tribune
“Lehane [is] a novelist of…effortless power.”
Tampa Bay Times
“Lehane’s 12th novel is a classic gangster epic.”
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
World Gone By is…suspenseful, devious, well-constructed and as filled with ethical questions as it is with gangsters. You've been through a lot by the time you finish it, including a few figurative choruses of "Danny Boy."
The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
Lehane is such a master plotter, you needn't have read the previous novels to know exactly who Joe is and where he came from…[Lehane's] mordant wit entrances readers who want more from a crime novel than endless scenes of stomach-turning violence. Which, by the way, Lehane also delivers, in a tightly coiled narrative…Plot, wit, violence, colorful characters—what more do you want…
Publishers Weekly
Edgar-winner Lehane wraps up the Joe Coughlin saga that began with The Given Day (2008) and Live by Night (2012) in fine fashion. By 1942, Irish-American gangster Joe Coughlin is almost untouchable. In his own mind, he's an irreplaceable asset not only to Dion Bartolo, the head of the Bartolo crime family, but to Mafia bosses such as Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, and Frank Costello. So Joe is shocked when convicted killer Theresa Del Frisco tells him that there's a contract out for him. Life in the mob is cutthroat and treacherous, and while Joe worries about a possible hit, other matters intrude as fights over territory turn bloody and fears of a snitch create suspicions. Coughlin is a marvelous creation, loyal to his friends and fiercely protective of his nine-year-old son, Tomas. The code he operates under allows him to navigate a path between brutality and charity, a shark among sharks. Lehane's many fans will relish this stunning conclusion to Joe Coughlin's journey. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary. (Mar.)
Library Journal
The closer of Lehane's trilogy featuring his Boston-bred protagonist Joe Coughlin (after 2008's The Given Day and 2012's Live by Night) follows a more mystical path than its predecessors. The book has more literary aspirations as well: it's classified as literary fiction, not crime or historical fiction. After a bloody rise through the ranks of the Florida Mafia and the murder of his wife, Graciela, Joe is now the Bartolo family's consigliere. Local and regional bosses look to him for guidance and adjudication; some pine for the days when he ran things and everybody got rich. But when he hears of a plot to kill him and starts seeing ghosts, Joe ponders his violent past and worries about leaving his son Tomas an orphan. VERDICT Expect high demand for this title, no matter the BISAC classification. Fans of Lehane and of his historical series will line up to read the finale, as will those who enjoy Mafia and organized crime stories. A movie version of Live by Night (directed by and starring Ben Affleck) is in the works, which should provoke even more interest in the series. [See Prepub Alert, 7/7/14.]—Liz French, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-12-17
A multilayered, morally ambiguous novel of family, blood and betrayal.Working against a backdrop of World War II, Lehane continues and perhaps concludes the ambitious series of historical novels that began with the epic sweep of The Given Day (2008) and continued with Live By Night (2012). Almost a decade after the climactic carnage of that second novel, protagonist Joe Coughlin has apparently left the violence of his gangster past behind, mixing easily in the upper echelons of Tampa society, serving behind the scenes as "the fixer for the entire Florida criminal syndicate." Still a widower and now a devoted father to his young son, he appears to be above the fray, a respected figure without enemies. Yet he's haunted by the ghost of a young man he can't quite identify, and he's threatened by a rumor that someone has threatened a hit on him for reasons unknown. He experiences tension between some of the mob leaders to whom he feels loyal, amid rampant speculation of a rat in the ranks who's skimming and perhaps snitching. He's also having an affair, one that seems doomed. On the surface, this is a crime novel that adheres to convention, but Coughlin has a depth beyond genre fiction, with a sense of morality and a code of ethics that the life he has chosen frequently puts to the test. As a particularly evil adversary warns him, "You have put a lot of sin out into the world, Joseph. Maybe it's rolling back in on the tide. Maybe men like us, in order to be men like us, sacrifice peace of mind forever." While this seems to lack some of the literary ambition of Lehane's best work, its cumulative thematic power and whip-crack narrative propulsion will enrich the reader's appreciation past the last page. On one level, a very moving meditation on fathers and sons; on another, an illumination of character and fate.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Joe Coughlin Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

World Gone By 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Lehane, but not this book. It just never came together. I can't reccomend it.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
The life Joe Coughlin has lived began in “The Given Day” as a young man rebelling against his stern police captain father in Boston, and continued in “Live By Night” as he turned to a life of crime, rising in the ranks to run the rackets in Florida and elsewhere. Now, “World Gone By” brings the story to a conclusion. This segment takes place around the time the United States entered World War II and takes a deep look at Joe’s machinations as he operates between the various elements of society, government and the disparate areas of their less reputable members with whom he comes into contact. At the same time, we see Joe as a doting father of a motherless son, having lost his Cuban wife in a horrible murder at the end of the last novel. For all his money and power, the fear of death always pervades a gangster’s life, and the plot has Joe learning that a contract has been taken out on his life, his murder scheduled for Ash Wednesday, less than a week away. The steps Joe takes to learn of the plot and what to do about it has ramifications for the remainder of the story, which is as about well-written and -plotted as anything recently read. This novel, as the entire trilogy, is highly recommended.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
Lehane is one of my favorite authors BUT this is not up to his usual readability. I think he had to finish the series and lost steam. Loved all the rest of his books and will look forward to the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite Lehane ... but .... it was just ok
Anonymous 3 months ago
One of my favorite authors. Not one of his best books.
lilcags More than 1 year ago
DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway contest. I wouldn't normally pick up a gangster novel, but this one made it on my "To-Read" list for a two reasons: I enjoyed reading "Mystic River" and "Shutter Island" years ago, and I'm drawn to historical fiction set during World War II. Seventy pages in, and I suspected I would finish the book out of a sense of obligation, simply because I received it through the contest. Characters were being introduced at a frantic pace (and I had had no idea that they had been introduced in earlier novels) so I felt removed from the story. It was like reading a lineup with positions and stats instead of being engrossed in a story. But then, by the end of Chapter 6, Lehane had me. He pushed into the protagonist's psyche and didn't let up. I felt the tension leading me page by page, and I was invested in the plot. I went from obligatory to motivated and stayed up past my bedtime to finish the book. I'm glad I didn't give up on it early on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jomalley1 More than 1 year ago
couldn't put it down.....kinda short tho
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this guys books. The last two have been my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
RapidReaderDC More than 1 year ago
Engaging and dusky, wrapped in the sinister fog of ghosts past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All the pages are BLANK!