Fair warning - I saw the movie before I read the book, so my perspective is totally colored by knowing all the plot twists before I even hit page one. Brief spoiler for the movie below as well.Ripping
good yarn and really excellent noir. I'm glad I saw the movie unspoiled, but I also wish I could have read the book unspoiled. In any case, even knowing what was going on and what was going to happen next (it's a remarkably faithful adaptation), I still tore through this puppy in no time. I'm not particularly a huge mystery fan, but I do love me some good pulpy noir-tasticness, and this book makes me want to go out and read other Lehane.
My one disappointment is that the book lacks the ambiguity of ending that the movie had. Teddy's last line in the movie is, "You know, a place like this makes a man wonder whether it's better to live as a monster or die as a hero," as he's walking away from Sheehan after starting up the whole "we gotta solve the Solando mystery" thing again. I loved that it created the possibility that Andrew did
remember but couldn't deal with it, now that the 'safety' of madness was stripped from him, so he had decided to commit suicide via lobotomy, which is pretty clearly what it would have seemed to him. I also loved that it was equally possible that Teddy
would say that line, fully back in the depth of his created world.
To me, the ending of the book was much clearer with the idea that Andrew had become Teddy again and was essentially "unsaveable."
I'm fairly certain both book and movie have some pretty dodgy issues with mental health, demonization of those with mental health issues, not to mention issues with psychiatry/psycopharmacology (I'm going to go with the issues on lobotomy being rightfully bad), but if you have the luxury to overlook those, then this is a ripping good tale.