Dennis Lehane (born August 4, 1965) is an American author. He has written several award-winning novels, including A Drink Before the War and the New York Times bestseller Mystic River, which was later made into an Academy Award-winning film. Another novel, Gone, Baby, Gone, was also adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film. His novel Shutter Island was adapted into a film by Martin Scorsese in 2010. Lehane is a graduate of Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Lehane was born and reared in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, and continues to live in the Boston area, which provides the setting for most of his books. He spent summers on Fieldston Beach in
Marshfield.<2>Lehane is the youngest of five children. His father was a foreman for Sears & Roebuck and his mother worked in a Boston public school cafeteria.<3>Both of his parents emigrated from Ireland.<4>His brother, Gerry Lehane, who is two and a half years older than Dennis, is a veteran actor who trained at the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence before heading to New York in 1990. Gerry is currently a member of the Invisible City Theatre Company.<5>
He was previously married to Sheila Lawn, formerly an advocate for the elderly for the city of Boston but now working with the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office as an Assistant District
Attorney.<6>Currently, he is married to Dr. Angela Bernardo,<7>with whom he has one daughter.<8><9>
He is a graduate of Boston College High School (a Boston Jesuit prep
school),<4>Eckerd College (where he found his passion for writing), and the graduate program in creative writing at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. He occasionally makes guest appearances as himself in the ABC comedy/drama TV series Castle. Along with Stephen J. Cannell, James Patterson, and Michael Connelly, he is one of Castle's poker buddies.
His first book, A Drink Before the War (1994), which introduced the recurring characters Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, won the 1995 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel. The fourth book in the series, Gone, Baby, Gone, was adapted to a film of the same title in 2007; it was directed by Ben Affleck and starred Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan as Kenzie and
Gennaro.<10>When commenting on the movie after receiving a sneak peek, Lehane commented that "I saw the movie and it's terrific, I wasn't gonna say anything if I didn't like it but it's really terrific."<11>Reportedly, Lehane "has never wanted to write the screenplays for the films <based on his own books>, because he says he has 'no desire to operate on my own child.'"<2>
Lehane at a book signing in February 2009
Lehane's Mystic River was made into a film in 2003; also called Mystic River and directed by Clint Eastwood, it starred Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon (Lehane can be briefly seen waving from a car in the parade scene at the end of the film). The novel itself was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, and France's Prix Mystère de la Critique.
Lehane's first play, Coronado, debuted in New York in December 2005, produced by Invisible City Theater Company. The play had its regional premiere at American Stage in St. Petersburg in April
2006<12>and its Midwest premiere in the fall of 2007 with Steep Theatre Company in Chicago. Coronado is based on his acclaimed short story Until Gwen,<13>which was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly and was selected for both The Best American Short Stories and The Best Mystery Short Stories of 2005.<5>
Lehane described working on his historical novel, The Given
Day,<14>as "a five- or six-year project" with the novel beginning in 1918 and encompassing the 1919 Boston Police Strike and its aftermath.<15>According to Lehane, "The strike changed everything....It had a big effect on the unionization movement, and Prohibition came on the heels of that, then Calvin Coolidge promising to break the unions. That's all linked to what's going on now.".<15>While Lehane's epic novel centers on the 1919 Boston police strike, it contains a national sweep and might be the first of a trilogy or perhaps a four-book series.<16>Lehane called the novel his "great white whale" and said that when he finally finished it, he would "either write a sequel—or take a break from the cops and return to Patrick and Angie."<11>The novel was published in October, 2008.<7>
On October 22, 2007 Paramount Pictures announced that they had optioned Shutter Island with Martin Scorsese, the director of The Departed, attached as
director.<17>The Laeta Kalogridis-scripted adaptation has Leonardo DiCaprio playing U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, "who is investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is presumed to be hiding on the remote Shutter Island."<18>Mark Ruffalo played opposite DiCaprio as U.S. Marshal Chuck Aule.<19>Production started in March 2008; Shutter Island was released on February 19, 2010.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on February 12, 2010, Lehane revealed that he was working on a sixth book in the Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro series, his first in 11
years.<20>The book, titled Moonlight Mile, was released on November 2, 2010.