________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 9 . . . . January 1, 1999

cover Sins of the Father.

Norah McClintock.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1998.
191 pp., paper, $5.99.
ISBN 0-590-12488-9.

Subject Headings:
Murder-Juvenile fiction.
False arrest-Juvenile fiction.
Family-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 6 - 9 / Ages 11 - 14.
Review by Valerie Nielsen.

**1/2 /4

Fifteen-year-old Mick Standish is convinced that his father, Dan, is "...a screw-up, the worst father in the world." Since Mick was born while his father was in prison, Mick's memories of him consist mainly of the half-dozen occasions his mother had taken him to visit his father in jail. Tragedy haunts Mick's life. Just days after Dan finally receives his parole, Mick's mother dies as the result of a work place accident. Safe in foster care after a short stay with his father, who has turned to drink to ease his pain and anger, Mick remembers his mother's faith in his father's innocence, and the promise that he has made to her on her deathbed - to stick up for his father. When Dan comes out after his third prison term, Mick is hopeful that this time things will be different; however, his hopes are soon dashed. Dan drives him to Haverstock, Dan's old home town, and dumps him with his grandfather, Big Bill, a sour and bitter old man who has nothing good to say about his son, Dan. Mick soon finds out that others in the town shun him as the son of a murderer. The news about Dan gets worse. It appears that, besides having a terrible temper and a problem with drinking, he is a blackmailer. When Mick becomes convinced that there are things going on in his father's family that may exonerate Dan in the murder of Barry McGerrigle, he sets out to discover what actually happened on the night of the tragedy.

      As in McClintock's other suspense novels, there some deft plot twists, a violent climax, and a happy (if hard to believe) ending. It is a formula that seems to succeed with young mystery fans, as will the cover (on which Mick is depicted as a Leonardo DiCaprio look-alike) and the handy pocket-size of the novel.

      It is to be expected in a mystery novel that characters will take a backseat to plot. Unfortunately for adolescent readers of Sins of the Father, as well as a cast of one-dimensional characters, the pace is uneven and the plot considerably less gripping than the author's earlier suspense thrillers. Given the popularity of this genre with young adult readers and the novel's attractive cover, Sins of the Father is not likely to languish on the shelf; however, McClintock fans expecting another page-turning gripper like Jack's Back or Mistaken Identity are likely to be disappointed in this story.

Recommended with reservations.

Valerie Nielsen is a recently retired teacher-librarian who co-chairs the Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Award Committee.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364