The Rag and Bone Shop
by Robert Cormier
Summary: Jason, almost 13, is a shy, ineffectual child, who takes being bullied as a matter of course--but if he sees someone else being pushed around, he may strike back. When the seven-year-old girl who lives next door is murdered, Jason is horrified. He was the last one to see her alive. He wants to do everything he can to help find the killer, so when the police come calling, he tells them all he knows. What he doesn't know is that Trent, a detective adept at extracting confessions, has been called into the case--and Trent has Jason in his sights as the murderer. Cormier presents a cat-and-mouse game so tense that readers will feel they must escape the pages just as Jason wants to extricate himself from the stuffy, cell-like room where his interrogation is taking place.
Review: I gave this 5 out of 5 stars. I wish I could give it a thousand, like the last Cormier novel.
“I must lie down where all the ladders start, In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.”
This novel is amazing. False confessions are recognized now, but they weren’t always recognized. Jason only wants to help and the police are feeling pressure from political leaders to find the murderer of Alicia. They hear about Trent and his interrogation skills and call him in, with their sights set on Jason. The majority of the book is inside the interrogation room with Trent and Jason and it’s horrifying. Every leading remark makes me cringe. I think the worst part is knowing that despite the fact that this novel is fiction, this is very real occurrence.
I kept thinking about how terrible it must feel having someone force you to confess to something by making you so uncomfortable that you begin to doubt your own thoughts. A simple remark like, “I enjoy horror novels” can be turned into motive for a crime. I think about all the things I enjoy, like horror novels and how terrible it would be to have someone try to analyze me and pin me to a crime. What’s worse is that the mother of this child thinks he’s helping in an investigation, which is far different from being interrogated. He doesn’t know he should have his mother there or a lawyer. He trusts this police officer. He doesn’t understand what is happening. He’s being led into this terrible twist of words.
And what about the psychological damage an interrogation of this magnitude can cause?
Jesus… this book gives me the shivers. It was so magnificently written. I can’t believe I’m just now discovering this author. I want to read everything he’s ever written!
An absolute MUST read novel.