Mystic River (novel)

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Mystic River
First edition cover
AuthorDennis Lehane
Cover artistChip Kidd (designer)
CountryUnited States
PublisherWilliam Morrow
Publication date
February 2001
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages416 p. (hardback edition)
ISBN0-688-16316-5 (hardback edition)

Mystic River is a novel by Dennis Lehane that was published in 2001. It won the 2002 Dilys Award and was made into an Academy Award-winning film in 2003.


The novel's plot revolves around three boys who grow up as friends in Boston — Dave Boyle, Sean Devine, and Jimmy Marcus. At the beginning of the story, Dave is abducted by child molesters while he, Sean, and Jimmy are horsing around on a neighborhood street. Dave escapes and returns home days later, emotionally shattered by his experience. The novel then moves forward twenty-five years: Sean has become a homicide detective, Jimmy is an ex-convict who currently owns a convenience store, and Dave is a shell of a man. Jimmy's daughter disappears and is found brutally murdered in a city park, and that same night, Dave comes home to his wife, covered in blood. Sean is assigned to investigate the murder, and the three childhood friends are caught up in each other's lives again.

Film adaptation[edit]

Mystic River, the Academy Award-winning adaptation of the novel, was released in 2003. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood and starred Sean Penn as Jimmy Markum (the character's last name was changed from Marcus to Markum for the film), Tim Robbins as Dave, and Kevin Bacon as Sean. Sean Penn won the Best Actor in a Leading Role and Tim Robbins won the Best Supporting Actor for their respective performances. It was also nominated for four other Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Eastwood), Best Supporting Actress (Marcia Gay Harden), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Brian Helgeland).

Awards and nominations[edit]

Mystic River won the 2002 Dilys Award presented by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association.[1] The same year, it also won the Massachusetts Book Award.[2]


  1. ^ "The Dilys Award". Archived from the original on 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  2. ^ "Book awards Honor Kunitz and Massachusetts authors". Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2015.