World Gone By: A Novel

World Gone By: A Novel - Dennis Lehane Do I really need to tell you in this day and age that this is a very well-written crime saga filled with fully-drawn characters and a page-turning plot? I don't think so. I could just tell you that it's a new Dennis Lehane book and you should already know what to expect.

World Gone By is the sequel to Lehane's Edgar-Award-winning [b:Live by Night|13083008|Live by Night (Coughlin, #2)|Dennis Lehane||18252653] and you should definitely read that book before tackling this one. It leads to a much more rewarding experience. Set in the middle of World War II in 1943, years after the events in Live By Night, former South Florida crime boss Joe Coughlin has sort-of gone legit, a member of the Commission with Meyer Lansky, but now he just runs his sugar cane and import/export business, acting as the legal front and consigliere to the present Florida crime lords. He leads a relatively quiet life between Cuba and Ybor City with his son Tomas. But everything changes once Joe hears the rumours of a contract put out for his assassination, a hit scheduled on Ash Wednesday, eight days away.

This book is understandably not the epic crime saga that Live By Night was (which tracked the bloody rise of Joe Coughlin from a small-time hood in South Boston to the most powerful crime lord in Florida); it's more intimate and narrower in scope but still just as exciting, the ticking clock of the assassination providing tension and suspense as the story moves forward. But more importantly the book deals with the theme of consequences that come home to roost when you live the lives that these characters do, with each one forced to take stock of the things that they've done in the past and what their lives have amounted to. Yet again, another good piece of work from one of my favorite authors.
"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 forevermore."