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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Sixty-Seven

Dennis Lehane

Pride of Ownership

Steve Boisson

Like many writers, Dennis Lehane started with short stories. He wanted to create the kind of beveled truth nuggets crafted by Raymond Carver, but he didn’t feel his efforts met that mark, so he didn’t submit a one. In 1990, two years out of college, twenty-five-year-old Lehane decided to try his hand at a crime novel instead. The first draft came pouring out in three weeks. Many rewrites and a Master of Fine Arts later, A Drink Before the War was published in 1994, earning a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel.

Lehane’s star investigators are Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro from Dorchester, the tough, working-class Boston neighborhood where Lehane grew up. In that first book, ...

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