Dennis Lehane at Miami Book Fair International

The Mystic River writer talks about Tinseltown and his latest novel.

Miami Book Fair International's street fair is coming this weekend, and to celebrate, Riptide called up Dennis Lehane, author of best sellers turned box office hits Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone. A graduate of Florida International University, Lehane will speak about his newest critically acclaimed novel, The Given Day, at 10 a.m. this Saturday in the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus Auditorium.

Riptide: In a way, The Given Day is about terrorism, right?

DL: The entire Boston Police force walked off the job. There were riots for three days and they had to call the Army in to get the city under control.

You'd have to be blind not to see the parallels to today and not to think we should be doing the opposite this time around. I even wrestled with the thought of taking the word terrorist completely out of this book, but that was a term that was so prominently used at that time. Lenin had coined the phrase, or at least popularized it, and that's what they called these people, so I couldn't pull it.

Riptide: Babe Ruth appears in the book. How difficult is it to write about real-life historical figures?

DL: I really thought of him the whole time as Manny [Ramirez], as Manny being Manny. Those two guys are so similar and they were traded for the same reasons — they were both financially, emotionally draining everything from those teams. Ruth was bitching about the team every month, about the owners, about his pay. It's the same with Manny. The only difference is Manny dogging it on the field, which Ruth never would have done.

Riptide: Clint Eastwood made Mystic River into a movie, Ben Affleck did Gone Baby Gone, and now Martin Scorsese is adapting Shutter Island. If someone had suggested this 10 years ago, would you have believed it?

DL: No. It's insane.

 
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