Dooley Takes the Fall (Ryan Dooley #1)
"Yeah, I think so," Dooley said. In fact, he was sure of it because there was no air going into or coming out of the lungs of the kid on the pavement. Also, the kid's open eyes were staring at nothing, and his head was twisted, as if he had turned to look at something just before he made contact with the hard surface of the path."
Right away, Dooley knows he's in trouble. For one thing he's got a record. For another, the dead kid isn't exactly a stranger - and he's no friend.
So slowly the net begins to close around 17-year-old Dooley, a troubled lone wolf who has a couple of strikes against him already. Not many are on Dooley's side; in fact at times he even wonders whether his uncle - a retired cop - thinks he's guilty again. There's a big question of trust in their uneasy relationship, and his uncle is the only one standing between Dooley and big time disaster.
The dead kid's sister Beth is someone Dooley would like to have think better of him as well - but she also suspects he's involved in the crime. And all around him are other teenagers at school and in the world he's drawn into who would like to pin him with responsibility for a growing number of murders that swirl through the city.
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.
A boy with a troubled past watches another boy plummet to his death off
a bridge, and soon he's the one taking the fall for it. Dooley Takes
the Fall is one part Hitchcock (innocent man must clear himself of a
crime), one part Chandler (serpentine, sometimes confusing plot), and three parts young adult.
I liked it quite a lot as a gritty, realistic YA thriller, although by
the end I was sometimes losing track of which pretty rich boy with a
dark side was which. Norah McClintock is a Canadian author whose name
wasn't familiar to me before Dooley hit my radar, and now I'm going to
make a point of finding more of her books.
Dooley Takes the Fall was a strange book for me,
because I had never considered what it would be like for someone who's
been on drugs and trying to stop. Very strange, and this book had a bit
of mystery added to it from more crimes of other people framing him. I
liked growing with the book, and the people who were framing him
learned their lesson, it's just the ending was sort of disappointing.