Author Dennis Lehane, who has written several best-sellers about the beauty and darkness of working-class Boston, spoke to a full house Monday night at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.
“We have been getting calls all day,” said library director Alexandra Gutelius. The calls went for naught because all 300 seats in the library’s largest room were reserved. The event was free of charge but a first-come, first-served seat registration system was in place.
The public library on Moe Road that serves Saratoga County’s two largest towns has a history of attracting popular authors.
In November 2010, the library hosted mystery writer Lee Child to another sold-out crowd. Child is the British author of more than 15 books featuring ex-military police officer Jack Reacher. His books have sold 40 millions copies in 75 countries.
Lehane, 47, is the author of three books — “Mystic River” (2003), “Gone Baby, Gone” (2007) and “Shutter Island” (2010) — that have been turned into major motion pictures.
Gutelius said the Friends of Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library helped pay for Lehane’s appearance. The Friends group covered his $3,000 visitation fee and the library paid for his travel and lodging expenses, she said.
“The Friends are wonderful. They help us with these programs,” Gutelius said.
Last year Will Shortz, the popular crossword puzzle editor of the New York Times since 1993, delighted a large crowd while he discussed crossword puzzles and gave little quizzes to the audience, Gutelius said.
Lehane read from his books, including his newest book, “Live By Night.” His books were also available for sale and he signed his books for those attending the program. Part of Lehane’s agreement with the library is that his talk could not be recorded or filmed.
Lehane’s newest book is historical fiction about Prohibition-era Boston and is set in 1926. Lead character Joe Coughlin, the son of a well-respected Boston police captain, has turned his back on his father’s way of life and has been swept up with the mobsters selling illicit alcohol and making a fortune doing it.
Boston is often Lehane’s focus. He was born and raised in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood.
Lehane is the author of nine novels, including The New York Times best-sellers “Gone, Baby, Gone,” “Mystic River,” “Shutter Island” and “The Given Day,” as well as “Coronado,” a collection of short stories and a play. He and his wife, Angie, divide their time between Boston and the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Lehane worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. He says on his website that his one regret is that no one ever gave him a chance to tend bar.
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