Death in October.
Grade 12 and up / Ages 17 and up.
Phone lines on the evening talk shows across Canada, and a few in American cities hugging the border, were jammed with angry and frightened callers. A concensus was rapidly building. With very few exceptions, the callers were saying the same thing. Enough is enough. Let Quebec go if that's what it takes to bring peace and security back to the country. Many insisted the time had come to demand that the province leave confederation, and furthermore, said several, if anything should happen to that little girl, send in the troops with all guns blazing and keep them there until hell freezes over!
Green, who has lived most of his life in Quebec, is an experienced, controversial writer-broadcaster whose articles and stories have been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, and periodicals. Spanning five days, Death in October is a nail-biter that has its readers rooting both for the young kidnapped Lee Henry and for a peaceful resolution to Canada's persistent problem - will Quebec eventually separate? Grant Henry, Lee's father and a prominent and successful radio talk show host, soon discovers that even his own troubled marriage threatens his daughter's life. Who is the enemy? Whom can Grant trust? The police? Government? All are suspect. Eventually, Grant gathers a few trusted friends to decypher Lee's taperecorded messages in an attempt to locate her and make the decisive attack on her secret location. From Day 1 of the opening chapter and the shocking description of the family dog impaled on Grant Henry's wooden gate to the gripping conclusion, Death in October is a compelling, descriptive story that unfolds like a made for television movie. Green makes his story all the more realistic by molding his own talk show experience and his hobby of raising exotic chickens into the very fabric of the story.
Death in October is an easy read. Each of the novel's five days is further splintered into place, time, and day, eg. "Montreal, 6:54 AM, Day 3". Although the print is quite readable, the book's larger than the usual size does not make it a jam-in-the-hip-pocket or stuff-in-the-purse kind of novel. The very vivid, violent scenes and the language make this an adult novel, but a must read. It is the kind of story that reads like an unfolding visual drama. To the very last page, readers are shocked into considering their own stand on national unity and the consequences of separation. Death in October is suitable for a simple read or for the study of Canadian literature or political science at the university level.
Floyd Spracklin, an English Language Arts Department Head and teacher at G.C. Rowe Junior High School in Corner Brook, NF, has been teaching, writing, acting, and reviewing literature and theatrical productions for twenty-five years.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - MAY 23, 1997.
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