Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2164
Once a Criminal, Always a Criminal?
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Dooleys only seventeen years old and already hes got a rap sheet. At fifteen, after a year or two of drinking, drugging and petty crimes, he got caught and arrested. He served his two years and is now living with his tough minded, ex-cop, uncle. The terms of his release: go to school every day, turn in your homework on time, get a part time job, go to counseling and come home. His uncle pages him several times a day to make sure Dooleys on the straight and narrow and Dooley must return the phone call in minutes or incur his uncles wrath. So far, its working.

However, Dooley is now learning that one lapse in judgment can wreak havoc on everything hes worked hard for. One day he got off work early. His uncle isnt expecting him for two more hours, so rather than going directly home like he should, he decides to take a walk. He walks through a ravine and sees a body in free fall from the bridge above. He runs over to where it lands. Obviously, the person is dead. Dooley recognizes him as a kid from school, Mark Everley, who he had a fight with&a very short fight (Dooley is quite the fighter). A young kid on a bicycle rides by and Dooley sends him to phone 911 while he guards the crime scene.

Despite the fact that the death was initially deemed a suicide or accident, Dooleys past makes him a prime candidate as the perpetrator of foul play. When another schoolmate, Eddy Gillette, turns up dead, murdered, Dooleys position is even more precarious. He was drunk at a party (that he lied to his uncle about) the night Eddy died and doesnt remember a thing that happened. Everyone else remembers Dooley and Gillette arguing that evening.

Dooley Takes the Fall by Norah McClintock is a good psychological mystery. Told in third person, the reader gets inside Dooleys head. Hes a loner. Hes got a secret that is revealed towards the end of the book, augmenting the events that take place. He gets a crush on Everleys sister, Beth, a person who, he feels, is above him and wont look at him, yet he tries to impress her. He falls for false friendships which only get him into trouble. Hes torn between the urge to back to his old ways and the need to remake himself. The ending is a surprise and I didnt see it coming, but you might.

McClintock is Canadian and the writing in the books Ive read by Canadian writers is a little more clipped, a little less flowing than books by American authors. This serves the book well. It enhances the mystery. I highly recommend Dooley Takes the Fall to mystery fans and to those readers who just like good books.
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