BOY STILL MISSING by John Searles

BOY STILL MISSING

KIRKUS REVIEW

Far-fetched, contrived debut about a troubled teenager who uncovers the secrets of his mother's past after her tragic death from a botched abortion.

It's 1971, and Dominick Pindle would just as soon not drive around the small town of Holedo, Massachusetts, with his woebegone mother and her best friend as they search for his hard-drinking, ne'er-do-well father. Eventually the women wind up at his mistress's house—and persuade Dominick to go in and get him. Edie Kramer, a sluttish, attractive blond, swears Dad's not there and makes a pass at never-been-kissed Dominick He responds eagerly, then discovers his drunken father asleep in her back bedroom. Finding out later that his father beats Edie, who's pregnant, Dominick decides to rescue her by paying off her numerous creditors. He steals the cash his mother hides under the rug, replacing hundreds with ones and hoping Edie will pay him back. Fat chance: she uses the stolen money to get on his abusive father's good side, such as it is. Appalled, Dominick runs away to New York. Edie eventually winds up there too, just in time to give birth to his half-sister. Then Dominick heads home to Holedo, where the bloody corpse of his pregnant mother has just been discovered on the floor of the local hot-sheets motel. It's clear that an amateur abortionist left her there to die, and Dominick is racked by guilt, knowing that he took money she could have used for a safer, if still illegal, medical abortion. He returns to New York, kidnaps Edie's newborn, and heads home once more. When he learns the identity of the abortionist, Dominick goes half-crazy, demanding justice as he holds the baby and his girlfriend, Jeanny, hostage in the motel. A police bullet hits him, and we fade to black . . . .

Searles has a straightforward style, but it's not suited to this overwrought story with a plot straight out of the afternoon soaps and a tacked-on happy ending.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-17570-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001




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