• Since We Fell

  • A Novel
  • By: Dennis Lehane
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (2,118 ratings)

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Since We Fell  By  cover art

Since We Fell

By: Dennis Lehane
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Publisher's Summary

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel's marriage. As does Rachel herself. Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths.

By turns heartbreaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

©2017 Dennis Lehane (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Since We Fell

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Wait ....

The first half of Dennis Lehane's latest novel, Since We Fell, is a meandering but engaging tale of a young female journalist, her relationships, and her callous, overbearing mother. Unfortunately, the second half of the audiobook disintegrates into an unoriginal romance story (a veiled and failed take-off of the sarcastic but in-love Charlie and Rose in the African Queen) between the journalist and her husband who is not who he seems (and his real self is unimpressive). The two characters are often implausible and always one-dimensional, never allowing the reader to become emotionally invested in in either the couple or the story. The hit men and police are embarrassingly clichéd, quite surprising given Lehane's superior writing talent. The ending was a miserable failure. The narrator, Julia Whelan, does a credible job. Wait until the audiobook goes on sale if you must get this book.

44 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Na
  • 05-14-17

Compelling but far fetched

This was a compulsive listen, and I don't regret spending a credit on it. But so many elements of the story turn out to be dead ends, and ultimately the story is very far fetched.

39 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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slow moving, not up to Lehane's work

I had to return this one after wasting 4 hrs listening to it. It was draggy and boring. I am a Lehane fan and as much as I tried to listen longer I just couldn't force myself to do it. The characters were unlikable and the story was full of psychobabble - as if Lehane took a psych course and decided to write a novel based on it. I was very disappointed.

36 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A rip-snorting blast!

Dennis Lehane goes all literary on us! But don't worry - he does bring a little bit of his classic noir (a feminine version of noir, at that) home for us in the last third of the book. The reviews I've read don't exactly contain spoilers, but it's better not to address the second half of the book to prevent the full-on ramp up of suspense that grabs you there and pulses through till the end.

Lehane does a decent job with a female protagonist, although his portrait of the woman's mother is grossly one-dimensional amid a sea of better-drawn male characters. And, sir, neither Mount Holyoke nor Smith Colleges are "girls' schools." They are womens' colleges. Duh.

This book is a rip-snorting blast right till the end. Highly recommend - especially if Lehane's more noir stuff set in rain-soaked, scruffy Boston neighborhoods are not your cup of beer. This one's faster and brighter.

The narrator is the same woman from Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies - Julia Whelan, and she is really, really good.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Impressive skill, but awfully contrived

OK, bad news out of the way to start:

First, this is so contrived in so many places that, as well written as it generally is, it won’t survive your putting too much weight on it. [SPOILERS] Why would a con-man go to incredibly elaborate lengths to persuade his wife he’s another man if, as he repeatedly claims, he’s doing so to help cure her of her agoraphobia and panic attacks? Why, if he’s planning an intricate international scam in order to acquire the wealth he dreamed of as a working-class kid, does he have the resources to purchase and outfit multiple safe houses? And why, if he’s trying to earn her eventual trust, does he stage an event in which she believes she’s murdered him?

Why, I can’t help asking now that it’s over, didn’t he just go into it over a nice bottle of wine?

Second, tough-guy Lehane has gone soft on us. The guy behind the brilliant Mystic River and the exemplary noir short story collection Coronado has come to believe in love. [SPOILER] Sure, he has a young woman murdered in front of her newborn, but the point is that even people who’ve screwed one another over can share the sort of love that augurs a happy-ever-after and a new family all their own.

I can’t say such a softening of one of our best pros is all that surprising – the disappointing Live By Night (made into the Ben Affleck movie) showed he was willing to sell out at the right price – but for much of this one I’d hoped we’d see a return to form of the earlier novels.

That’s two major strikes against this but, that said, it’s otherwise as terrific as I can imagine. Lehane is still such a pro, so capable of drawing compelling characters and of exploring a noir universe, that it works in spite of its foundational flaws.

One character, who’s holding a gun to our protagonist Rachel’s head, asks her, “Do you want to be good, or do you want to live?” There may be subtler and more satisfying distillations of the noir premise, but there aren’t any more direct. Everything in life is tarnished; any time we make it through the day, we diminish ourselves through the compromises we make.

Rachel’s afflictions, her inability to deal with strangers, are a consequence of the evils she’s seen as a journalist and as a woman raised by a possessive, overbearing mother. She’s been bruised at every turn, and she determines she doesn’t want to bruise anyone else. She doesn’t even want to be with Brian, in large part because she doesn’t seem to believe she’s worthy of him. (In turn, he seems drawn to her because she represents an unsullied decency that’s beyond him. He’s drawn far less well than she is, though, and since Lehane gives him exceptional chameleon powers, it’s hard to get a real read on him.)

The different sections of this one don’t line up all that well, but Lehane makes each one sing. The first section is an almost stand-alone story about Rachel trying to identify her father. It’s beautifully done, worthy of Lehane’s deep talent, and it succeeds in making historiography – the search for history as opposed to history itself – compelling. The second, when she falls in love with Brian, has a nice resonance as well, suggesting an intriguing version on the old “Gaslight” trope where a husband tries slowly to convince his wife she’s insane.

The next parts of the novel move well – I really enjoyed the tension – but they ultimately strain credulity. They work only as long as Lehane distracts us from their silliness, which he is talented enough to do until, with the book over, not even he can keep us from looking back and asking, “wha?”

I’ve touted Lehane as the exemplar of contemporary noir, the closest thing to a supplanter James Ellroy has known. Well, Ellroy may have slipped a little (he’s recycling his own excellent work, which means something like Perfidia still stands above most of what’s out there), but Lehane has slipped farther. I’m likely to keep reading him (though not the Live By Night sequels – avoid those) but without quite the great expectations he earned with his early work.

30 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dennis Lehane?

If this were my first Lehane experience, I probably wouldn’t read another. I have rabidly devoured everything he has written and naturally some were better than others, but they were all engaging and most were pageturners. I was fully one third of the way into this before I realized it was going anywhere. Two thirds of the way I gave up and actually returned it. I needed a Lehane fix. Didn’t get it.

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book!

Perfect narrator for this novel. Dennis Lehane never disappoints and this one will keep you interested til the end. A little slow on the start up but so worth it once the action starts!

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

My life has been such misery and pain


I decided to read this because I enjoyed most of Lehane's gritty, intelligent Kenzie/Gennaro series set in Boston (e.g., Gone, Baby, Gone). This was his first non-period novel in a while. I wasn't thrilled with the one period novel I read so I was intrigued when he returned to the present.

This is a suspense/psychological thriller that works for the most part. I was puzzled by some disconnects though (one thread dropped off without explanation). Also, while I thought the female protagonist was very well-developed, I wish he'd gone much deeper because she may be his best protagonist ever, certainly for the first 40% of the novel.

I won't provide a description of the characters or plot because it might ruin the story. In fact I'd suggest you not delve too far into the reviews as I did. The less you know, the better the story. One review gave me a one word description of the plot but didn't disclose the ending. Yet, even mentioning this clue was more than enough to spur my mind to figuring out the next twist, which I did with decent success.

If you've already read reviews, go ahead and look at my one sentence general description of the plot:
Hitchcockian.
This was all I needed to know to have me guessing/knowing all through the novel of what was about to happen.

A short rant about reviewers complaining the novel is not worthy of reading or its value is lessened because the plot is like that in a movie made director X or in such and such niche of a genre:

To the supercilious literati tendency who look down upon a novel because it reminds her/him of another novel or a film, Please, gimme a break!.

There is nothing wholly new in this world. I won't ramble on that nearly all art is taken/stolen, at least in some part, from something done by someone else, who stole/took, at least in some part, something another did before that, and so on. Since the time of Solomon, as he pronounced: "There is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9.

Instead, you cognoscenti who would not deign to listen to me, hear ye the whispers of the ghosts of artists who you must surely respect:

Picasso: " Art is theft ."

Mark Twain: " It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected. "

Salvado Dali: " Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing. "

David Bowie: " The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from ."

I agree with Jonathan Lethem that when one thinks something is truly "original," nine out of ten times one just doesn't know the references or the original sources involved.

I'd have to say that T.S. Eliot best described "originality" in a way that accounted for the fact that nothing is wholly new:

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poets welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn."

By this definition, even if one thought Dennis Lehane borrowed from a certain director's plot twists and/or endings in writing this novel, Lehane still "weld[ed] this... into a whole of feeling which is unique [and] utterly different."

{End of Rant} Thank you for your indulgences.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Things are not what they seem...

The plot is articulated in two/three parts . We start with the main character’s (Rachel) childhood years with a dysfunctional and abusive mother, we continue with Rachel's search of her father along with the rapid rise and fall of her career in journalism and we end (but this is by far the longest part) with Rachel meeting and falling in love with a stranger …From here onwards the thriller starts. We enter into a Hitchcock-like atmosphere where is difficult for Rachel (and the reader) to understand what is true and what is false, what has truly happened and what has been imagined. This type of stories need to be well tied-up and with a solid logic that gives credibility to the plot (the more sounds credible, the more the reader is engaged). Lehane is letting us down as- at times- and story and characters become inconsistent and the reader feels often that is taken for a walk into an unbelievable territory.
I do love Lehane, but am very mixed on this book : at times truly suspenseful and engaging , at times frustrating and too far-fetched.
Julia Whelan does an exceptional job to keep the reader hocked and to make him forget the credibility gap.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Kind of a mess

If it didn't name Dennis Lehane as the author, I would not have thought he wrote this. It's nothing like his other books, and that's not meant as a compliment. The story was all over he place, and although there seemed to be an attempt to bring it all together in the final paragraphs, it didn't work for me. Implausible plot, unlikeable characters....I hope his next book is better. This one was a bit of a mess.

13 people found this helpful