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Punishment by Linden MacIntyre


by Linden MacIntyre

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This book just didn't grab me. There were several story lines but I felt that none of them were taken to a satisfactory conclusion. It was also incredibly slow at the beginning with the character development of Tony. I didn't need to read 100 pages to establish that his character was a sad, broken man. The second half of the book was better pace wise but again, I felt like the author began several different lines but then didn't carry them through all the way. And sorry but I predicted the plot twist. Not one of my favourites. ( )
  tinkerbellkk | May 30, 2018 |
Tony Breau's career as a corrections officer has ended in the wake of an incident that resulted in the death of an inmate. Guilt-ridden, he has returned to his Nova Scotia home, in the village of St. Ninian. Awaiting him there are various friends and neighbours as well as ghosts from his past: Catherine Stewart (Caddy), with whom many years earlier he was in love but who left town one day without explanation, Neil MacDonald, a tormentor from his school days, and Dwayne Strickland, a much younger local man whose criminal actions led him to cross paths with Tony in his professional capacity. Dwayne is a charming manipulator, an ex-con who knows how to read people and push their buttons. When Tony arrives in St. Ninian Dwayne is living on his own in his family's old house and building a reputation among local youth as the go-to for drugs. Unfortunately for him a girl has died of an overdose under his roof--Mary Stewart, Caddy's grand-daughter--and he has been charged with murder, and because of their shared history he seeks out Tony for advice and for testimony on his behalf. However, the facts of the case are inconclusive, and when it comes down to the crunch the case is thrown out for lack of evidence before it can go to trial. With Strickland free and the girl's death unresolved, Tony finds himself at the centre of a volatile mix of emotion, accusation and speculation, all of which contribute--in a series of troubling and tragic events that as the story moves forward begin to carry the weight of inevitability--to the book's searing climax. In the world that Linden MacIntyre conjures in this novel truth is layered and multi-faceted: the deeper you dig the more you find, but even when you hold it in your hand it changes appearance depending on the angle of the light. Morally compromised and struggling with an array of demons, Tony Breau attracts our sympathy even while we acknowledge his many personal weaknesses and the numerous poor choices he's made in his life and continues to make in the pages of this book. Punishment can be enjoyed as a crime thriller, but it is one that probes human motivation in unsentimental fashion and unflinchingly demonstrates that secrets and lies long past can have far-reaching consequences. ( )
  icolford | Feb 22, 2015 |
A bit of a rambling book and more of a commentary on a complicated situation than conclusive. A very satisfying read though I must add. Interestingly I could almost hear in my mind the dulcet tone of the author reading it to me! ( )
  martinhughharvey | Feb 22, 2015 |
This book was one of the best I've read in many a long year! The book is set in a small maritime Canadian town in and around 2001, The story is about a 55 year old man by the name of Tony Breau who returns home to the town where he grew up after an absence of 4 decades. Tony has suffered a lot of changes in his life. He has left his job of thirty years because of an incident that happened at the prison he was working in, and his wife of twenty years has left him. Tony finds himself falling back into the community where he grew up, and he reacquaints himself with old friends and acquaintances as well as old romantic interests. The pull of the community is strong and the majority of the people welcome Tony back with open arms. Then a tragedy occurs which brings an old acquaintance, who happens to be a former inmate, back into Tony's life. Things get messier and messier as Tony is forced to reexamine his values, his sense of justice and the consequences of retaliation and vengeance. We follow Tony as he wrestles with his conscience and while he tries to reconcile past actions and tries to assimilate present actions. Everything he believes in and holds dear is brought into question. The book rockets on at an incredible pace with so many twists, turns and surprises that I couldn't put it down. I read the book at a breakneck pace, but now I'm at a loss because I've finished. There is so much to think about and rehash in my mind after this one. MacIntyre is a novelist of extraordinary skills, and this book is one that I recommend most heartily. It's totally awesome. ( )
  Romonko | Jan 4, 2015 |
Linden MacIntyre, an award-winning journalist, takes the skills he developed in that career and applies it to a work of fiction. The result is a book that seems very real.

Tony Breau has returned to his small Cape Breton home town after taking early retirement from his job as a corrections officer at the Kingston Penitentiary. The town has been rocked by the death of a young girl in the house of an ex-con, Dwayne Strickland. Tony and Dwayne knew each other when Dwayne was in the Kingston Pen after being convicted of armed robbery of a Toronto bank. Dwayne is in jail awaiting a preliminary hearing for causing the death of the girl. Dwayne wants to see Tony and he is hoping Tony might give evidence on his behalf. Dwayne and Tony have other commonalities besides being in the same jail. They were both adopted by childless couples in the small town and both have divulged secrets about the jail system which have caused them to be viewed as "rats". Tony is contemplating meeting with Dwayne but first goes to see the girl's grandmother, Caddy. Tony and Caddy dated when they were young but Caddy became pregnant by someone else and broke off with Tony before leaving for Windsor ON. Caddy is recently widowed and Tony is divorced so there is a potential for a new relationship. Tony is a good man who gets caught up in circumstances that lead to difficult choices.

This book does not paint a nice picture of the system that deals with criminal acts. Police, lawyers, correctional officers all come off as not much better than the criminals themselves. Given that these people have taken oaths to uphold the law perhaps their actions are even worse than those they charge with crimes. One quote is repeated several times through the book. "Evil is an adverb" can mean a lot of different things but to me it means that what we do can be evil even if we are not evil ourselves.

Lots to think about in this book. ( )
  gypsysmom | Dec 3, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345813901, Hardcover)

In Punishment, his first novel since completing his Long Stretch trilogy, Scotiabank Giller-winner Linden MacIntyre brings us a powerful exploration of justice and vengeance, and the peril that ensues when passion replaces reason, in a small town shaken by a tragic death.
   Forced to retire early from his job as a corrections officer in Kingston Penitentiary, Tony Breau has limped back to the village where he grew up to lick his wounds, only to find that Dwayne Strickland, a young con he’d had dealings with in prison is back there too–and once again in trouble. Strickland has just been arrested following the suspicious death of a teenage girl, the granddaughter of Caddy Stewart, Tony’s first love.
   Tony is soon caught in a fierce emotional struggle between the outcast Strickland and the still alluring Caddy. And then another figure from Tony’s past, the forceful Neil Archie MacDonald–just retired in murky circumstances from the Boston police force–stokes the community’s anger and suspicion and an irresistible demand for punishment. As Tony struggles to resist the vortex of vigilante action, Punishment builds into a total page-turner that blindsides you with twists and betrayals.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:17 -0400)

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