The Drop by Dennis Lehane, performed by Jim Frangione
This short novel is a mix of genres, all taking place within a small couple of neighbourhoods. Bob Saginowski, a bartender who lives alone in the house he grew up in, hears a noise as he is walking home from work one day. He follows the sounds to a trash can, finding a puppy, badly beaten and left for dead. Nadia Dunn, the woman whose trash can he found it in hears him and quizzes him on what he is doing. After some hesitation, Bob agrees to adopt the puppy and names him Rocco after the patron saint of bachelors, dogs, and the falsely accused among other things.
Bob works at a bar that used to be owned by his cousin Marv, something Marv is still very resentful of. The bar is now owned by Chechen mobsters, who sometimes use it as a money drop for other activities. Bob faithfully attends his local church, but never takes the sacrament. He has something he feels that he cannot be forgiven for.
When Bob is approached by a psychologically unbalanced man, Eric Deeds, who claims the dog belongs to him, Bob is forced to take action, He has developed a tentative friendship with Nadia around Rocco, and feels a hope for the future that he hasn't had in years, one he doesn't want to give up. He also feels a strong connection to the dog and is outraged at the thought of giving him back to the man who beat him.
Meanwhile the bar has become a target for thieves, hoping to hit the bar on a night that it has been chosen to be the drop. The case draws the interest of a cop who attends the same church as Bob and begins to wonder at Bob's reason for not taking the sacrament.
An interesting tale of a number of lonely people, all struggling to find a connection that will make them feel less alone, even if only for a short while.
Frangione provides just the right tone and voice for this story.