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Wright, L.R.

Toronto, Doubleday, c1985. 217pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-385-25001-0. CIP

Grades 12 and up
Reviewed by Frank Loreto

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

Many novels centre on the topic of murder. The Suspect by L.R. Wright is no different, except that the murderer is eighty years old and the victim is eighty-five. The ages of the two men is supposed to make the situation somehow unique, as if passions have no place in the lives of the elderly. When George Wilcox murders Carlyle Burke, he fully expects to be caught, tried, and sent to prison. However, he changes his mind and decides to see how long he can elude the police. Because this happens in a small town, the investigation of the murder takes much longer than it has to and it allows for the makings of a love-plot to be included. The novel focuses on three characters: George Wilcox, who feels he has a reason for his crime and manages, with little difficulty, to stay a step or two ahead of the law; Staff Sergeant Alberg of the RCMP, a life-hardened officer, who, while trying to get his man, also tries to get a woman; and Cassandra Mitchell, local librarian, close friend to Wilcox, and, coincidentally, the respondent to Alberg's letter in the personal column.

As none of the characters in this cast is particularly well-developed, the reader never really gets close to anyone in the novel. It stumbles as a thriller, fails as a romance, and the ending is less than satisfying. At best, The Suspect is an okay novel, which is unfortunate, as Wright shows a great deal of ability. This is certainly not worth the $19.95 price tag. Wait for the paperback edition.

Frank Loreto, Rainy River H.S., Rainy River, Ont.
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