The Boy Must Die


Author: Jon Redfern

Published: 2001

Genre: Mystery

About The Boy Must Die: A teenager is found hanging in the basement of a house in Lethbridge and Billy Yamamoto is asked to help determine if it was suicide or murder.

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Review of The Boy Must Die

Detective Inspector Billy Yamamoto has taken early retirement from the Vancouver police force and settled on his grandfather's land in southern Alberta. He's fixing up the house, building an honour garden for his recently deceased father, and occasionally assisting the Lethbridge police force with homicide investigations. When a teenaged boy is found hanging in the basement of a house known locally as Satan House, it's not clear if it's a case of suicide or murder. The police chief needs assistance and Billy eagerly but cautiously agrees to help.

The two men shook hands, and Billy watched as Royce steered the cruiser out of the yard towards the Texas gate. He then walked into the bathroom, where he turned on the water in the shower. He placed his sweats on the new hook he'd screwed into the wooden door, then eased his way under the pelting force of the showerhead, his mind leaping forward, timing how soon he could finish shaving and dressing before he climbed into the Pontiac. The drive into Lethbridge could take thirty minutes, maybe longer if traffic was slow, it being Saturday and the highway crowded with half-tons and mini-vans coming in from towns like Fort Macleod, Monarch, and Kipp. Out of the shower, Billy dried himself, quickly shaved, put on a white shirt and his clean blue suit. Mixed with his anticipation was foreboding: it wasn't like Butch to insist as he had unless things were bad. "Real quirks," Billy said to himself.

...from pages 12-13

I liked Billy. He was very methodical, practical, and calm. So calm in fact that I think I was as startled as the other characters when he swore late in the book. I also liked the setting. I could be wrong but I don't think Lethbridge is a popular setting for novels so it was a nice change.

However, some of the dialogue (apart from Billy's) didn't ring true for me. It felt awkward and the Chief called Billy "buddy" so often that I started to wonder if he had a second job as a used car salesman. The red herrings (particularly the enormous one) just bugged me. The biggest problem though was that, by about halfway through the book, I no longer cared who did what and why.

This was Redfern's first book so I'm not ruling out reading more but I won't be in a hurry to do so.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath on 17 August 2008.

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Added 19 August 2008.
Updated 23 August 2013.