Betrayer, The

by Michael Hennessey
ISBN: 1894838033

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A Review of: The Betrayer
by W.P. Kinsella

In police investigations there is something called the Mysterious Dude Theory, which generally gives the police a good laugh or two in somber situations. A killer may be apprehended standing over a corpse with the smoking gun in his hand, but he will claim that a few seconds before a mysterious dude committed the crime, then thrust the gun into his innocent hand. In Hennessey's novel the Mysterious Dude actually exists. If fact his name is Hugh Michael "Mickey" Casey, and he narrates the story. Mickey grows up in a catholic orphanage in the 1930s in a slummy part of Charlottetown, where the only thing good is a fellow orphan named Emily Kate Ryan, to whom he is mightily attracted. When he leaves the orphanage he does odd jobs and is a minor hoodlum until one night he and two friends decide to rob an old man at his home. The robbery goes wrong and Mickey fires a gun at the old man to save his friend who may have been about to be killed. The three scatter, the other two are picked up and charged with murder. Mickey is a never a suspect. The other two do not invoke the Mysterious Dude defense, because they understand the reason Mickey did what he did. They are hanged for their crime. Mickey uses his native intelligence to become a successful journalist, but he is overwhelmed with guilt, and has been indoctrinated enough by the church to wonder "What if the priests and nuns are right? What if there is a hell?" Emily Kate marries another orphan who becomes a successful politician, but Mickey brings him down , then marries Emily Kate himself. But Mickey is an alcoholic and finally confesses his past to Emily Kate who bounces him out of their home, but not completely out of her life. Mickey still hopes for reconciliation. Mickey's motivation is sound and the story generally rings true. Life in 1930s and 40s Charlottetown is well drawn.

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