At a Glance
Dennis Lehane is mostly popular through two of his books, Shutter Island and Mystic River (both which were made into movie with Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon, and Leonardo Di Caprio respectively), however the author has written several other worthwhile books, including his Kenzie & Gennaro series and the Coughlin series.
Reading the Dennis Lehane books in order is not important for his stand along novels, but it is worthwhile reading his series in the right chronological order.
While most authors are best known for their mystery series (e.g. the author duo Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child are best known for their Pendergast series and less for their standalone books written by each separately, or Vince Flynn for his Mitch Rapp series rather than his standalone novel), Dennis Lehane is best known for his two standalone books.
One reason is because they are both made into two popular movies, however I find it a pity to not read his series as well, which make some really fascinating stories.
His very very first novel, A Drink Before the War is part of the Dennis Lehane Kenzie and Gennaro series and it was written back in 1994. The series is about two private investigators in Boston, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, who take cases that all are in some way gruesome, sad, and plain horrifying. The order of the Dennis Lehane books for his series and the two stand alone novels is shown below.
There is lots of violence and terror in these books, and some of the descriptions of what the killers do to their victims made me at times even me stop reading for a bit. However I also enjoy the so-called gallows humour that I see coming through the books, and the vivid descriptions of everything Boston related.
The latest novel published by Dennis Lehane is called Since We Fell a standalone novel.
So far there are two books in the series, each dealing with one member of the Coughlin family. The first book is about Danny Coughlin, the son of the local police captain, and the second book is about Joe Coughlin, the youngest son in the family.
So here are the Dennis Lehane books in order for his hardboiled detective Kenzie & Gennaro series, his newer Coughlin series and his standalone novels.
Dennis Lehane Kenzie and Gennaro Series In Order
1. A Drink Before the War (Kenzie and Gennaro Series #1), published 1994
2. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie and Gennaro Series #2), published 1996
3. Sacred (Kenzie and Gennaro Series #3), published 1997
4. Gone, Baby, Gone (Kenzie and Gennaro Series #4), published 1998
5. Prayers for Rain (Kenzie and Gennaro Series #5), published 1999
6. Moonlight Mile (Kenzie and Gennaro Series #6), published 2010
Coughlin Series In Order
1. The Given Day (Coughlin Series #1), published 2008
2. Live by Night (Coughlin Series #2), published 2012
3. World Gone By (Coughlin Series #3), published 2015
Dennis Lehane Standalane Books In Order
Mystic River, published 2001
Shutter Island, published 2003
Coronado: short stories, published 2006 – a collection of short stories by Dennis Lehane
The Drop, published 2014
Since We Fell, published 2017