cover image Mick


Chris Lynch. HarperTrophy, $4.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-447121-3

Not the standard feel-good paperback series, the Blue-Eyed Son trilogy takes a harrowing tour of Irish Boston's mean streets, with 15-year-old Mick as guide. Here is a world inhabited by beings one step down on the evolutionary and social scale from the bullies in Slot Machine: ignorant thugs like Mick's older brother Terry (a terrifying villain if ever there was one), whose idea of fun is to get wildly drunk and beat up non-whites; or get wildly drunk and bet on dog fights; or just get wildly drunk. In this tightly paced examination of inner-city life and race relations, Lynch treads very close to the same ground as Chris Crutcher. However, there are no hip adult role models to smooth the way for the young folks, and forget about the protagonist winding up with the girl of his dreams (although he does bed a friend's mother between titles 2 and 3). After enduring beatings, alcoholic excess and humiliations too numerous to catalogue, Mick is ultimately able to rise above his milieu, but the pervasive violence and morally ambiguous resolution make this series even more disquieting than Gypsy Davey. A powerful, thought-provoking and disturbing trilogy--for those who have the stomach for it. (Mick and Blood, Mar.; Dog, June)