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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Small Mercies

By: Dennis Lehane

ISBN: 9780062129482

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 04/25/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: TBR


The acclaimed New York Times bestselling writer returns with a masterpiece to rival Mystic River—an all-consuming tale of revenge, family love, festering hate, and insidious power, set against one of the most tumultuous episodes in Boston’s history.

In the summer of 1974 a heatwave blankets Boston and Mary Pat Fennessey is trying to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors. Mary Pat has lived her entire life in the housing projects of “Southie,” the Irish American enclave that stubbornly adheres to old tradition and stands proudly apart.

One night Mary Pat’s teenage daughter Jules stays out late and doesn’t come home. That same evening, a young Black man is found dead, struck by a subway train under mysterious circumstances.

The two events seem unconnected. But Mary Pat, propelled by a desperate search for her missing daughter, begins turning over stones best left untouched—asking questions that bother Marty Butler, chieftain of the Irish mob, and the men who work for him, men who don’t take kindly to any threat to their business.

Set against the hot, tumultuous months when the city’s desegregation of its public schools exploded in violence, Small Mercies is a superb thriller, a brutal depiction of criminality and power, and an unflinching portrait of the dark heart of American racism. It is a mesmerizing and wrenching work that only Dennis Lehane could write.

Buy the Book


“Lehane is the master of complex human characters thrust into suspenseful, page-turning situations.”

—Gillian Flynn

“One of the great diabolical thriller kings.”

—New York Times

“Lehane has built a career as a philosopher of the human animal.”

—Noah Hawley

“His ability to create crystal clear portraits of humanity and then place them in the darker side of life is a writer’s true gift.”

— USA Today

“I would follow Dennis Lehane anywhere.”

— Lee Child

“Once you pick up a Dennis Lehane novel, you’re hooked. It’s just that simple.”

— Kristin Hannah

“The publication of any Dennis Lehane novel calls for a celebration.”

— Richard Price

“Lehane writes expert, compelling thrillers that dive into mysteries much more universal and more urgent than just a whodunit; he’s one of the game changers who smashed the imagined boundary between genre and literature, proving that we can have the best of both at once.”

— Tana French

“Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River is perhaps the best crime novel in the English language.”

— James Lee Burke

“Lehane is a graceful writer, observant of the world that shapes his characters’ lives.”

— Washington Post

“[Lehane’s] work always combines pulp thrills with literary heart and sophistication.”

— Entertainment Weekly

"Dennis Lehane is a supernova and this is a novel that will throw your entire goddamn solar system out of alignment. Lehane has gone from strength to strength but never has he been more truthful, more heartbreaking, more essential. In the midst of our racial nightmare Small Mercies asks some of the only questions that matter: “What’s gonna change? When’s it gonna change? Where’s it gonna change? How’s it gonna change?” This book is impossible to put down and its dark radiances will stay with you a long, long time.”

— Junot Díaz

"Dennis Lehane peels back the layers of his characters like a sculptor finding the face of an angel in a block of stone. By a true master at the top of his game, Small Mercies is vintage Lehane. Beautiful, brutal, lyrical and blisteringly honest. Not to be missed."

— S.A. Cosby, bestselling author of Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland

About the Author

Dennis Lehane grew up in Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he has published twelve more novels 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; Live by Night; and World Gone By. His most recent work is a stand-alone novel, Since We Fell.

Four of his novels – Live by Night, Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island – have been adapted into films. A fifth, The Drop, was adapted by Lehane himself into a film starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini in his final role. Lehane was a staff writer on the acclaimed HBO series, The Wire, and also worked as a writer-producer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Netflix‘s Bloodline, DirecTV’s Mr. Mercedes, and HBO’s upcoming series The Outsider.

Lehane was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He and his family live in California.


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