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by Theresa Schwegel
Minotaur Books, November 2013
368 pages
ISBN: 125000179X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Pete Murphy was a rising star in the Chicago Police Department when he was handed the plum assignment of guarding a judge. When he became involved with the judge it seriously damaged his career and marriage. Now, relegated to the K-9 Unit with his new dog partner Butch, his marriage is strained and the family has moved to a poorer part of town where the two kids are left mostly on their own. McKenna has started running with the wild crowd and eleven-year-old Joel Murphy has retreated into his own world playing an elaborate game of cops and robbers with his one friend Molly. But Joel's game puts him in danger the night he takes Butch and follows his sister to a party. Spying on the party, Joel loses control of Butch who in turns causes an incident with grave consequences. Afraid to go home, Joel takes the dog and tries to keep out of sight until he can reach the one person he trusts to help him.

The author quite handily creates a suspenseful tale of an adolescent boy caught up in an event well beyond his capacity to manage. With only Molly and Butch for companionship, this lonely boy struggling to fit in a new neighborhood and school is a character readers can't help but like. The story of his journey with the dog through Chicago really grabs readers and pulls them along. However, getting to that part of the book is a bit trickier. There is quite a bit of family back story that needs to be told. It is, but in bits and pieces, making it hard to really get into the book. There seems to be more background on Molly, Joel's friend, than on Joel's mother and father until fairly far into the book.

Schwegal has an interesting combination of characters in THE GOOD BOY. Following Joel around the mean streets of Chicago was an interesting journey and I would be like to see more of them in another book.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, November 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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