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Review: The Drop, by Dennis Lehane

HERB JOHNSON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
This is a good book. In only 207 pages, Lehane manages to examine the nature of good and evil, take a look at sin, guilt and redemption and give the reader some hints about innocence and love. Lots of stuff.
At the centre of the action is Bob Saginoswki, who works in a bar called Cousin Marv’s. Marv is his cousin and doesn’t own the bar, not since he came up against some organized crime guys who were tougher than he was.
At the time, Marv was involved part-time in criminal activities that he felt might enable him to come up with enough money to salvage his life, which he felt, quite accurately, was not all that great. So now he tends the bar he no longer owns and plans further criminal activity.
Bob is a quiet guy. His folks coddled him to the point where he never really learned how to function as a grown-up. He may also be a poster boy for the old saying about how still waters run deep. Keep an eye on him.
Then there’s Rocco, who is an abused pup Bob discovered in a garbage can outside Nadia’s house. Rocco is one of the good guys. Not house trained, but otherwise totally loveable. Nadia is also quite nice, although, like everybody else in the novel, there are some dark currents there that need to be dealt with. Bob and Nadia team up to take care of Rocco.
Then there’s Eric, who lives on Nadia’s block and who claims ownership of Rocco. Eric has some mental health issues and has spent time in various institutions, including prison. Eric has a tendency to sneak into people’s houses, demanding money and/or drugs and shooting people who don’t give him what he wants.
At the heart of the action is the fact that the Chechen mafia has a string of bars around the city called “drop bars” that it uses on a random basis to collect various ill-gotten gains. Anyone (Marv, for example) wanting to get a big bag of money just has to go to the correct bar on the right night and outwit the Chechen mafia.
It is up to Bob (smarter that he appears) to foil any evil plots that may be transpiring, take care of Rocco and try to find true love with Nadia.

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