Book Review: The Drop by Dennis Lehane

Looking for an interesting new book to add to your fall reading list? Then consider The Drop by Dennis Lehane.

Set to be released on September 2, 2014, The Drop is part love story, part crime novel, part mystery, and part faith-based fiction. Add in a lonely bartender, the Chechen mafia, an abused puppy, a vengeful ex-con, a rogue cop, a sketchy bar owner, and a mentally unbalanced woman and your picture of The Drop begins to form.

Originally created as the short story "Animal Rescue," which appeared in the 2009 anthology, Boston Noir, Lehane turned the story into a screenplay before ultimately developing it into a novel.

The Drop begins a few days after Christmas. Bob Saginowski is a dead-end bartender at Cousin Marv’s, a mafia-owned drinking establishment in a gritty Boston neighborhood. Outside of going to mass every morning, where he mysteriously refuses to take communion, Bob has no social life, no friends, and no prospects for the future.

All that changes one night, however, when Bob discovers a severely beaten puppy in a trash can on his way home from work. He also meets Nadia, a mysterious woman who volunteers to help him care for the injured canine.

Things are going good for Bob until the puppy’s abuser, a crazy ex-con, hunts Bob down and demands the dog back. To make things worse, Cousin Marv’s Bar, which is used as a location for funneling gangster money known as “drops,” is robbed, and the local mafia boss shows up demanding to know what really happened to the cash.

From here, the book builds quickly in intensity to its climax on Super Bowl Sunday - when the bar is scheduled for the year’s biggest drop, and the lives of all the characters converge for a dangerous and surprising conclusion.

Overall, The Drop is an entertaining read. It is short, just over 200 pages, which doesn’t allow it to have quite the character or plot depth of other Lehane novels like Mystic River or Gone, Baby, Gone. It does, though, have just enough meat on its bones to satisfy most readers, probably because Lehane’s engaging writing style and ability to connect readers with his offbeat characters are still clearly recognizable in this suspenseful and occasionally darkly humorous story.

Lehane's screenplay for The Drop has also been turned into a major motion picture, due to be released in September. The movie stars Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini, which sadly was Gandolfini’s last film before his untimely death in 2013.

The Drop was recently recommended by the Library’s Director of Readers' Services Kaite Stover on Fox 4 KC’s morning news, along with several other great selections.

Check out the video:

About the Author

Amy Morris

Amy Morris is a senior library technical assistant at the Westport Branch. She earned a B.A. in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, from Avila University. Besides reading and writing, Amy enjoys traveling, art, being creative, playing the piano and spending time with her family. She also writes her own blog at

Kansas City Public Library on Facebook   Kansas City Public Library on Twitter   Kansas City Public Library on Flickr   Kansas City Public Library on YouTube   Follow KCLibrary on Pinterest   KC Unbound RSS feed