THE NIGHT THIEF by Barbara Fradkin


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A sneak thief poses an unusual series of moral dilemmas for a Canadian handyman/farmer in rural Madrid County.

At first, Cedric Elvis "Rick" O’Toole thinks his organic vegetable garden is being raided by a hedgehog or a rabbit. But the ingenuity the thief shows in evading the traps Rick sets and the traces he’s left of a camp nearby point to a human. Oiling up his shotgun, Rick stakes out the garden and catches a 10-year-old with a strange accent who refuses to identify himself. Dubbing the thief Robin Hood, Rick takes him in and shields him from Constable Jessica Swan, Sgt. Hurley, and the tender mercies of Children’s Services, a bureaucracy with which Rick’s already tangled on his own. It’s an uphill battle. Robin can’t read, can’t count and has never even held a pencil. He’s more than willing to help Rick with chores around the farm, but he seems to be sneaking out every night. One morning, Rick heads off to the woods himself and discovers a young woman whose eyes are as blue as Robin’s but who has one feature Robin lacks: a bullet hole in her side. Enlisting his mother’s aunt Penny to help Robin nurse the girl they decide to call Marian, he sits out Robin’s cryptic hints about Marian’s identity and waits for enlightenment from some other quarter. At length, it arrives in the form of an American with Alabama license plates, a short temper and a gun.

Child psychologist Fradkin (None So Blind, 2014, etc.) supplies a promising setup and a touching conclusion but not much of a story in between.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4598-0866-9
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Raven Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2015


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