Dennis Lehane's New Bestseller 'Since We Fell' Departure From Others

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Dennis Lehane creates many of his characters from the Boston community of Dorchester where he grew up.  From Mystic River to Gone Baby Gone to his new best-selling novel - Since We Fell - Lehane's fictional landscapes are dark and mysterious.  However, this new novel is a departure.  Lehane is known for crime novels featuring middle-class male cops and detectives.  Since We Fell is told from the perspective of Rachel Childs, an upper-class former journalist.

"I think people think that writing's a lot more conscious than it is.  I have no idea why I chose to write from a woman's point of view.  Gradually, in hindsight I could figure out some of the reasons, but I didn't know them at the time.  It wasn't like I sat down and I said, 'today I'm writing from a woman's [perspective]'.  I just decided I wanted to be a woman. It just sort of naturally and organically happened," he said.

Lehane wrote his first book A Drink Before the War when he was still in college.  He originally wanted to be a short-story writer.  But when he wrote his first novel it came to him easier than he anticipated.

"It was as if I'd opened a faucet, and that's when I discovered that essentially I was a novelist not a short-story writer," he said.

After that first book won the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel in 1995, Lehane realized not only was he a novelist, but a crime novelist. Lehane had a notion about the genre, too.

"We don't have to accept that this is a genre.  We don't have to accept that we're just crime fiction.  We can create literature," he said.

The new novel tells the story of Rachel Childs, a Boston journalist, who develops the anxiety disorder agoraphobia after a traumatic experience, and she now is living the life of a married shut-in.

"It's not something I feel like would probably afflict me, because I'm a pretty social and gregarious human being.  I felt like if you were agoraphobic, if you couldn't leave your apartment, what would be your fear?  My fear would be that people could be coming back, painting a picture of the world outside my door that could be untrue," he said.

That's the case for Rachel Childs who finally ventures beyond her front door and discovers what she's been told isn't in line with the narrative that's been described to her.

Lehane's best-selling narrative for Since We Fell takes it from there.

Dennis Lehane returns to Northeast Ohio, Monday, June 12 at 7pm at the Parma-Snow branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

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