Reviews for Coronado

Booklist Reviews 2006 August #1
In this gritty collection of five short stories (only one is new) and a play, Lehane (Mystic River, 2001) again deploys his singular gifts for creating unique characters and crackling, unforgettable dialogue. In the lurid "Running Out of Dog," Elgin and Blue, two emotionally damaged residents of a small southern town, share a unique bond but run afoul of each other over the affections of sexy Jewel Lut. She has used her good looks and her innate sensuality to entice the town's richest man to marry her, but when her need for security proves to be cold comfort, she unwittingly ignites a deadly confrontation between her two oldest friends. In "Gone Down to Corpus," similar emotions fuel the actions of three high-school football players who destroy the home of a rich teammate after his fumbled catch ruins their shot at a championship and a ticket out of town. In the superb "Coronado," a play based on the short story "Until Gwen," Lehane excels at depicting a soulless con man who would destroy his own son to secure a score. Hair-raising, bloodcurdling crime fiction. ((Reviewed August 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2006 June #2
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 a murderous 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. Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2006 May #1
The best-selling novelist shows off his short-story prowess. Lehane lives in the Boston area. Six-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Reviews 2006 May #2
The cream of Lehane's short fiction; look for "Until Gwen," basis of Lehane's recent Off-Broadway venture, Coronado. With a six-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Reviews 2006 August #1

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

[Page 79]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 June #3

Lehane (Mystic River ) hints in the first of these five richly vernacular (and, save one, previously published) stories and one play that "a small town is a hard place to keep a secret." In "Running Out of Dog," two Vietnam vets return to their hometown of Eden, S.C., and become tragically entangled with the wife of a man whose rich family kept him out of the war. Class resentment similarly erupts in "Gone Down to Corpus," set in back-water Texas, 1970, as a group of high school football players breaks into the house of rich kid Lyle, who fumbled the big pass at the last game. They drunkenly wreck the house and are shocked by the appearance of Lyle's younger sister, Lurlene, who is eager to join the party. The collection's centerpiece is "Until Gwen," which has also been adapted by Lehane into a two-act play, Coronado . Transcribed, the play revolves around the edgy reunion of a hustler father and his son, Bobby, newly released after four years in prison. It quickly becomes apparent that Bobby's father has retrieved him only to find out where the heist loot is hidden, and Bobby, in turn, needs to know what happened to his girlfriend, Gwen. Powerfully envisioned lives, recounted unflinchingly. (Sept.)

[Page 37]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2006 December

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

[Page 172]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.