This is an interesting study of a character named Bob Saginowski, a bartender in the Boston Bar called Cousin Marv’s (Marv is actually Bob’s cousin). He comes across as a sort of nebbish, a loner, who shows almost no interaction with people. Until, that is, he discovers a dog beaten and abandoned in a closed barrel and rescues it, developing an overwhelming attachment to the canine. Then he meets Nadia, who helps him care for the dog.
Meanwhile, events take place in the bar, which is no longer the property of cousin Marv, having been taken over forcefully years before by Chechen gangsters. To begin with, one night the bar is robbed of $5,000, the night’s register receipts. Then it is designated as “the drop” for all proceeds collected on betting on Super Bowl Sunday. (The cash is dropped from all over by bagmen, collected to be picked up from the drop later.) A tempting prize of millions for a would-be robber.
The main characters wander along in life, looking for something to believe in. Or something for nothing. Or atoning for past misdeeds and hoping for absolution. It’s a fast read and is being made into a movie. Mr. Lehane apparently has written this novel based on a short story, previously included as a short piece in an anthology, in support of the motion picture....Continua