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IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT by Robert Cormier

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

By Robert Cormier

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-32158-9
Publisher: Delacorte

Cormier again takes on The Big Themes--love and hate, death, sin, guilt and expiation--in this riveting tale of a son increasingly involved in his father's tragedy. John Paul Colbert, 16, was the only person in the old Globe Theater's balcony when it collapsed, killing 22 children seated below. Although the he was officially cleared of wrongdoing in the ensuing investigation, he became the target of bomb threats, hate mail and middle-of-the-night phone calls from the bereaved and injured--even 25 years later. Unable to understand how his father can accept the harassment so passively, John Paul's son Denny, 16, answers the telephone one afternoon and finds himself listening to the friendly, seductive voice of Lulu. From Cormier's masterfully placed clues, readers already know that Lulu is the worst of John Paul's persecutors; slowly she draws Denny into a deadly trap by playing on his adolescent fantasies and emotional confusion. A melodramatic climax in which Lulu is killed by her own brother leaves Denny shaken but alive; he is still confused about his own feelings but closer to comprehending his father's. The author goes easier on his characters (and readers) than in some of his books (Tunes for Bears to Dance To, 1992, etc.), but still poses an array of tough moral choices, offering neither clear answers nor a neat ending. (Fiction. 12+)