The Drop

From the book jacket:

Three days after Christmas, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live rescues an abused puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman looking for something to believe in. As their relationship grows, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia; a man grown dangerous with age and thwarted hopes; two hapless stick-up artists; a very curious cop; and the original owner of the puppy, who wants his dog back. . . .

The Drop is one of those crime novels that elevates above the genre, both in terms of prose and themes. At its center, however, it’s really a love story and meditation on morality. Bob loves his deceased parents and his decaying Church, but through the course of the novel he grows to love the dog and the damaged woman he meets after rescuing the puppy from a dumpster. And there’s the problem: love means having something to lose, which is why the moment Bob opens up his heart, just a little, the evil in this world comes knocking at his door.

What I loved about this novel is that you spend the entire story with a sense of dread for Bob. Day by day, the inevitable evils of daily life in a rough Boston neighborhood close in on Bob like a noose around his neck. But it’s morality that saves Bob. It’s not the kind of morality one might expect from a character who spends so much time agonizing over the sins of the Catholic Church child abuse scandal, but it is a kind of morality nonetheless.

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