A Drink Before the War is the first of the Patrick Kenzie/Angela Gennaro novels and even though I knew some things that happened (because I read the fourth novel in the series first), I still enjoyed the hell out of this book.
Four books into the series (as of this writing) I can say with certainty- these are positively nasty stories. The good guys are tough and violent and the bad guys are absolutely despicable. The Kenzie/Gennaro Boston, while certainly based on the Boston I know and love, is a vile place. This is especially true in this novel.
Written at the tail end of outbreak of gang violence in the city, A Drink Before the War presents a focused vision of the violence that racked the city 15-20 years ago. It’s a page-turner, presenting a briskly paced web of bloodshed and intrigue that spans from the first page to the last.
It plays exactly the way the best genre fiction should play.
I heartily recommend these books- especially if you’ve got some experience with darker side of Boston’s blue collar neighborhoods.