Three little boys, Dave, Sean, and Jimmy, start fighting in the middle of the street about whether or not to steal a car. A police car drives up and a man steps out, telling them to cut it out or he is going to call their parents. The boys know he’s a policeman because of the gold badge on his hip, but something isn’t right about the car. It’s dirty and smells like apples.
The policemen put Dave in the back seat and drive off. No one sees him for days. Turns out the ‘cops’ were child-molesters. When Dave returns he has to live with a shame that threatens to consume him. Sean and Jimmy feel guilty and helpless. They resent Dave for these feelings and shun him.
Twenty-five years later, Jimmy’s daughter, Katie goes out with her friends for a secretive bachelorette party and never returns. The same night that she disappears, Dave comes home covered in blood. He tells his wife that he snapped at a mugger and may have killed him.
Sean is the detective investigating Katie’s murder and uncovers more than he anticipated about Jimmy’s dark past, the significance of the Mystic River, and what people are truly capable of.
This mystery isn’t the kind where you can figure out the ending from the get-go (like Mary Higgins Clark–not hating, just saying). The plot twists are shocking and devastating. This is one of the saddest stories of senseless crime, personal grudges, and jumping to conclusions without hard evidence that I’ve ever read.
Dennis Lehane does a wonderful job of balancing the very real grief of Katie’s family with suspense and violence. I read this in like 4 days, I wanted to know what happened that bad. Anyway, I have to see the movie now!! My movie list is soon going to be as long as my book list…