Coronado: Stories.

Position:Brief article - Book review

**** Coronado Stories By Dennis Lehane

Plumbing the depths of violence.

With these five short stories and play, Dennis Lehane dredges up the same surreal noir he exhibited in his best-selling Mystic River. In "Running Out of Dog," two Vietnam vets fight over a car dealer's wife. A refugee hides out in a hospital for a month in "ICU." "Gone Down to Corpus" depicts a violent world of high-school football. "Mushroom" features a guy, his gal, and a date-rape drug. In "Until Gwen," a hustler father and his son reconnect when the former gets out of jail and demands a missing diamond. Finally, Lehane adapts "Until Gwen" to a two-act play, Coronado. Set mostly in the South, these stories address class, gender, and violence--and the chance to redeem empty lives.

Morrow. 240 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 006113967X

Hartford Courant ****

"In these five stories and the play, characters leap off the page at you and there are a few you won't soon get out of your mind.... The play is a wonderful adaptation, underscoring the strengths and weaknesses of fiction and drama." MICHAEL LEE

Miami Herald ****

"The centerpiece is the riveting 'Until Gwen,' which opens with an unforgettable image: 'Your father picks you up from prison in a stolen Dodge Neon with an 8 ball in the glove compartment and a hooker named Mandy in the backseat.' ... The transformation from prose to script is interesting, but it's the story that lingers, reminding you of the grim elegance of Lehane's imagination." CONNIE OGLE

USA Today ****

"Lehane saves the best for last with 'Until Gwen,' a story about Bobby, a young man who has survived prison and a shootout but who drowned in his own personal hell years before. It is in this story that Lehane constructs one of the most diabolical fathers ever put on paper." CAROL MEMMOTT

Entertainment Weekly *** 1/2

"Lehane has a startling capacity for assessing broken...

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