Best local author
Westford resident David Brody dipped into his background as a Boston real-estate lawyer when writing both of his novels. Unlawful Deeds involves an art thief turned, hmm, Boston real-estate lawyer. A novel full of parched legalese it's not -- a multi-million-dollar painting goes missing (complete with references to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft of 1990), a transvestite prostitute is found strangled in a Back Bay alley, and a sultry Harvard law student arrives on the scene. The Tufts alum's sophomore effort, Blood of the Tribe, also hinges on real estate, this time two billion dollars' worth on the Cape and the Indian tribe that lays claim to it. It's a searing murder mystery and a timely look at the battles between Native Americans and the government.
After the raging success of the bestseller-turned-blockbuster Mystic River, it's no surprise that Dennis Lehane -- a Dorchester boy born and raised -- is the pick for Phoenix readers' favorite Beantown scribe. In all seven of his novels, Lehane captures Boston's streets and scenes, from seedy to suburban, with disquieting acuity. His first five books were a series; the last two, Mystic River and the recently released Shutter Island, have been stand-alones. Of the movie version of Mystic River, the Village Voice writes, "Few page-to-screen adaptations have been as accommodating to the writers involved than Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed gilded version of Lehane's best-selling 2001 thriller." In other words, the film is uncharacteristically faithful to Lehane's words. That doesn't change the fact that you should read the book.