Books | Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
Instant New York Times Bestseller“Small Mercies is thought provoking, engaging, enraging, and can’t-put-it-down entertainment.” — Stephen KingThe 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 Fennessy 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.
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"4.25⭐️ Wow was not expecting what this turned into. It’s my first Lehane book so maybe I would’ve known if I’d read others in his catalogue but it started out very much a literary social commentary historical drama. I would’ve been fine with that but it was also slow going and challenging..for the first half. South Boston in the 70s is a place I’m happy not to have lived or even visited. It was (maybe still is?) a rough and tumble, socioeconomically depressed place As a west coast girl who grew up during this time period in equally socioeconomically depressed but multicultural military housing (whites, the minority) where we all got along, went to school and played together, the racism presented (and I have no reason to believe it wasn’t that horrible given history and that civil unrest of the 60s had barely turned a corner) was extreme to take on to say the least, as it would be to most of our modern sensibilities..except the racists that is, they just don’t go away. The way of thinking, the language, the slurs, are all jarring (the hard R is used a LOT so be warned). Whites and Blacks are divided and busing is being implemented. This leads to outrage, bitterness and protests on the white side of town. Then the death of a black man and a white girl missing. Which is when social commentary turns to non-stop violent vengeance. The white MC is mired in the racist conditioning. You will not always like her yet you will root for her. She’s had too much loss and nothing left to lose AND has the badassery to go after the worst of the worst. I appreciated the complexity of this character I enjoyed the last half a lot and it went much quicker. Racism is not solved of course. But I guess it’s too much to wish more of the Black perspective was included. Alternating POV would have nicely rounded out the story in a more complete way. I’m not mad at it though as I believe it’s important to remember the harsh realities of U.S. history and the legacy we still live under. "
"A tough flawed Irish American Mom takes her revenge on the people who caused her daughters death. T his is set in the fraught time in South Boston before bussing. I don't know why I haven't read more Lehane books as I enjoy them "
"Small Mercies pulled me forward from page 1. Against a backdrop of racial unrest and generational bigotry, Mary Pat Fennessy, a hard-edged character from the start, deals with the unimaginable loss of her 17-year-old daughter, Jules, who disappears one night without a clue. She pieces together what happened and with single-minded persistence and anger, she wreaks violence and vengeance on all involved. Generations of anger and hatred pervading both Mary Pat’s life and the lives of others in South Boston would always yield sadness. Mary Pat was a unique female character and I can see changeable actresses such as Jessica Chastain, Frances McDormand or Kate Winslet transforming themselves into Mary Pat"