Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, can describe people and scenes with the sharpness of a high-resolution camera and their feelings with the eloquence of a poet.
The end result is stunning. The Given Day is a big, fast-paced novel which blends action, drama and bursts of lyricism in a faithful recall of an America gone and forgotten. When Boston overflowed with poor immigrants, anarchists and communists and the policemen patrolling the streets could barely feed their families.
The simmering unrest hit a flash point in September 1919 when the policemen went on strike and the city exploded. Boston burnt as rioters looted and fought.