CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 7. . . .October 16, 2009
Introduced in 2008's Dooley Takes the Fall, Ryan Dooley, who prefers being called Dooley, returns to allow readers another glimpse into his daily life. After completing a sentence for burglary, Dooley currently lives with his "upright, uptight" Mr. Law- and-Order uncle whom he met for the first time early in his incarceration, who kept coming back to visit, and who assumed responsibility for Dooley upon his release. Dooley struggles to stay on the straight and narrow path to meet the conditions "put on him when he was released," conditions that include "holding down a job, staying away from drugs, alcohol, weapons, and baseball bats, and attending regular counselling," but "going to school was the hardest to comply with." Dooley considers living with his uncle "like living with a cantankerous semi-senile old granny instead of a supposedly on-the-ball uncle." Recently, something has disrupted his uncle's usual routines and up-front attitudes, but Dooley knows discussion about problems just will not happen with this man Dooley has come to respect in the last two-and-a-half years. The one bright spot in his life is his relationship with Beth, his girlfriend whom he met in Dooley Takes the Fall, although challenges lurk there as well.
Dooley's past inevitably intrudes upon his present. Lorraine, Dooley's troubled single mother whom he has not seen for more than two years, shows up at school one day, asks him to come see her, and when he ignores her, shoves a note with her address into his pocket. Her lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and men during his growing up years trumped any parenting skills she possessed and prompted him to leave home at age 15 and fall into criminal activity. When police find her dead of an alleged overdose a couple of days later, neither Dooley nor his uncle is surprised; however, police soon rule her death a homicide. Jeffie, a friend from Dooley's wild days, asks for a temporary loan, but unfortunately he turns up murdered a week later, debt unpaid. This pair of deaths catapults Dooley into the world of police and interviews. Ironically, his ex-cop uncle falls under suspicion and is arrested when detectives uncover complex family connections and dynamics that are news to Dooley. Confused but reluctant to accept his that his uncle might be guilty, Dooley resolves to investigate, succeeds in putting together random clues, links the two deaths, identifies the perpetrator, and extracts a confession, and, in the process, develops insights into his own family background and troubled history.
Darleen Golke, a retired teacher-librarian, writes from her home in Abbotsford, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.