The Rag and Bone Shop (Laurel-Leaf Books) Mass Market Paperback – 13 May 2003
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" Tense and terrifying, this final book from Cormier will leave a lasting impression."
"- Booklist," Starred
" The chilling results of the questioning will leave an indelible mark on readers and prompt heated discussions regarding the definition of guilt and the fine line between truth and deception."
- "Publishers Weekly," Starred
"Tense and terrifying, this final book from Cormier will leave a lasting impression."
"The chilling results of the questioning will leave an indelible mark on readers and prompt heated discussions regarding the definition of guilt and the fine line between truth and deception."
-"Publishers Weekly," Starred
Tense and terrifying, this final book from Cormier will leave a lasting impression.
" Booklist," Starred
The chilling results of the questioning will leave an indelible mark on readers and prompt heated discussions regarding the definition of guilt and the fine line between truth and deception.
"Publishers Weekly," Starred"
From the Inside Flap
Twelve-year old Jason is accused of the brutal murder of a young girl. Is he innocent or guilty? The shocked town calls on an interrogator with a stellar reputation: he always gets a confession. The confrontation between Jason and his interrogator forms the chilling climax of this terrifying look at what can happen when the pursuit of justice becomes a personal crusade for victory at any cost.
"From the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is classic Cormier -- childhood innocence broken on the rack of adult corruption (the town officials want to point the finger at Jason because they want SOMEONE to take the fall); sensitive and alert rendering of shifting moods and thoughts (Cormier's books have always been too interiorized to allow for good movie adaptations; I wouldn't want to see Hollywood attempt this one); the sense that evil often prevails, but that doesn't mean good shouldn't try anyway; and, most vividly, one of the most chilling final lines in all of Cormier. I sort of wish Cormier had left us with something a little more optimistic, but he was never particularly optimistic, just realistic. And his complex portrait of Trent -- as a man who has grown to hate what he does and who he is, but does it anyway because it's necessary and he happens to be skilled at it -- separates Cormier from many youth-flattering authors who indulge in easy kids=good, adults=bad equations. Cormier was about the messier arithmetic of the human soul. It's a shame he's not still out there crunching those numbers. He will be missed.
Interrogated by an expert, 12 yr. old Jason cannot avoid linking himself to the murdered 7 yr old. Does what he say cause him to become someone different? In the windowless interrogation room he perceives the double-edged sword of reality and its underlying currents of suspicion and need. This book is for mature readers because the seemingly simple story twists and turns into a stark fatal attraction. Are truth and justice found in the rag and bone shop? The suspense builds with each answer that Jason gives. Like writing an epitaph on a tombstone, author Robert Cormier lures the reader into formulating and answering a poignant question. And not until the end does he...reader, this is a master at work; you'll not want to close the cover of this powerful, slim book.
Telling the tale of Jason Dorrant, a middle-school youngster who is accused of killing his friends younger sister, Alicia Bartlett, Cormier drives the story along quickly and deftly. In a political (aren't they all?) manuever, local officials bring in Trent, an ace interrigator, who is known for eliciting confessions from even the most innocent suspects. Jason is brought into the local police station, and sequestered with Trent, who is undergoing some personal doubts about himself, the fairly recent death of his wife, and about the young man he is hired to make confess.
Cormier handles this taut, suspenseful story with guts and grit, drawing his characters with broad strokes, but making them feel like we've known them for some time.
"I must lie down where all the ladders start / In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart." ~ William Butler Yeats
The district has called in expert interrogator Trent for a special case. The whole town of Monument is riled up and wants a confession. They need a perp to make themselves feel better. Seven-year-old Alicia Bartlett's body is found in the trees a short ways off the path with no physical evidence. All they have to go on is the last person to see her alive, twelve-year-old Jason Dorrant.
Jason has a short history of violence, but if someone were to ask him about it, he would say that punching Bobo Kelton was necessary. After all, he'd touched little Alicia inappropriately, and no one had done anything about it, not even Alicia. Alicia intrigues Jason. She's honest, smart, expert at puzzles, and befriends him when the rest of the world doesn't.
The trouble is that Alicia's dead now. Trent needs a confession to move further up the ranks. Jason's trapped without an alibi. And the town wants blood. The tale Cormier weaves from this situation amounts to a social statement, or question, about the roles adults have in the formation of young lives. Are we innately good, or evil? Or perhaps we are forever changed by certain events of our lives, ones we'll never be able to forget, ones we'll eventually have to act on before our minds take over.
-- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens