Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Small Mercies


Author: Dennis Lehane

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release date: April 25, 2023

Thank you NetGalley & HarperCollins for the digital review copy. 

Dennis Lehane’s Small Mercies isn’t always an easy. That’s what makes it so good. The book is set in the “Southie” enclave of Boston in 1974. It’s the eve of forced bussing to desegregate the schools. Everyone is on edge including Mary Pat Fennessy. Mary Pat has spent her life in the housing projects of Southie. She loves her Irish American community & takes pride in how the people in the neighborhood look out for one another. 

Just before the new school year is set to start, a young black man is killed in Southie. It’s the same night Mary Pat’s teenage daughter never returns home after going with some friends. Witnesses reported a group of white teens confronted the victim shortly before he was killed. 

Mary Pat turns to the neighborhood crime boss & his crew to help find her daughter after the police offer little help. The crew runs everything in Southie & even though they’re criminal thugs, she knows the neighborhood can always count on their help. After a few days, the crew tells Mary Pat her daughter simply ran off to Florida & to let it go. Mary Pat can’t let it go. What mother would? She’s determined to find the answers to her daughter’s disappearance no matter the cost. 

Mary Pat begins to question everything she grew up believing about her close knit neighborhood & the men who run it. She also must face her own racism & the fact that she passed her prejudices along to her daughter. 

Lehane does an exceptional job setting the scene & painting the Southie neighborhood and it’s characters. He perfectly captures the time period of a city that was ready explode like a power keg over desegregation.

Mary Pat isn’t a character who is easy to like. It would be simple to dismiss her as merely a product of her place & time. But somehow Lehane made me root for her. It was compelling to see Mary Pat confront her own racism & long held beliefs. She eventually questioned everything she held dear about her neighborhood and community. I didn’t always like Mary Pat, but she’ll stick with me for a long time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Small Mercies publishes April 25th.

#smallmercies #dennislehane #harpercollins #netgalley #publishingsoon #boston #southie #bussing #desegregation #historicalfiction #crimefiction #mysteryfiction #thrillerbooks #bookstagram #reviewcopy

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