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Monday, July 26, 2010

Homicide Related, written by Norah McClintock. Red Deer Press, 2009. $14.95 ages 13 and up

"Then came the past six months living in his uncle's house. Maybe those six months should have told him something, but, then again, maybe not. After all, his uncle had lived nearly three times longer than Dooley before Dooley had even made his acquaintance, and that made it hard for Dooley to tell if the way he had been the past six months was the way he always was or just the way he was now that Dooley was around."

Norah McClintock is a skillful and entertaining writer. She has won many awards for her work, and deservedly so. She is adept at creating complex and compelling characters, who are caught up in stories that thrill and delight a wide group of readers.

In this second book of a planned trilogy, Dooley is back and deserving of our admiration despite the dips and dives that his life has taken. He has proved himself to be dependable and conscientious, but he has some bad breaks to get past and it takes hard work. He wants to be a better person and live a good life. He works hard to stay out of trouble.

The pace of this fine mystery is fast, and takes place over a two week period. There are many details throughout that help a dedicated reader prepare for what is going to happen and some of the secrets that will be revealed. The relationship between Dooley and his uncle is contentious and plays a huge role in the action. The evolving, sometimes acrimonious, relationship between them is tantamount to the mystery's solution. Dooley must adhere to a number of conditions as part of his release, including "holding down a job, staying away from drugs, alcohol, weapons, and baseball bats, and attending regular counselling." The best part of his life for the moment is Beth, his girlfriend. They, too, have their challenges.

When Dooley's mother dies and police determine that it is a homicide, and then another person from his past dies, Dooley is drawn back into the presence of police and interrogation. As the case moves forward, family secrets are revealed. These lead to the arrest of his uncle and Dooley must work to prove that guilt lies elsewhere. In doing so, Dooley learns much about his family and his past.

Now, I need to get my hands on Dooley Takes the Fall (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2008) so that I will know the back story of Dooley and the people in his life. I am sure I will look forward, with great anticipation, for the final chapter from Norah McClintock's convincing and creative mind.

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