- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Trent, an ace interrogator from Vermont, works to procure a confession from an introverted twelve-year-old accused of murdering his seven-year-old friend in Monument, Massachusetts.
Trent, an ace interrogator from Vermont, works to procure a confession from an introverted twelve-year-old accused of murdering his seven-year-old friend in Monument, Massachusetts.
“The chilling results of the questioning will leave an indelible mark on readers and prompt heated discussions regarding the definition of guilt and the fine line between truth and deception.”
–Publishers Weekly, Starred
“I guess so. My headache’s gone. Is there a connection?”
“Maybe. They say confession’s good for the soul. But I don’t know if it eliminates headaches.”
“Am I supposed to say I’m sorry now?”
“The fact that you confessed indicates a degree of sorrow.”
“Is that enough?”
“That’s up to you, Carl. What you did can’t be erased, of course.”
“I know. They’re dead. Gone. Can’t bring them back. But—can the sin be erased?”
“I can’t tell you that. I’m not a priest.”
“But I confessed to you.”
“Yes, but I can’t give you absolution.”
“Are the police coming?”
“They’re waiting outside.”
Trent shut off the tape player and leaned back in the chair, kneaded the flesh above his eyebrows. In the silence of the office, he still heard Carl Seaton’s voice, all cunning gone, penitent, full of regret. Trent had sat across from him for four hours, under the harsh light of a 100-watt ceiling bulb, in the small cluttered office. The relentless questions and answers, the evasions and rationalizations, the eventual admission (not the same as a confession), and, finally, the confession itself.
The Trent magic touch at work, as a newspaper headline had once proclaimed. But Trent felt no particular magic now, no thrill of accomplishment. Too many confessions? Like Carl Seaton’s? Having induced Carl to confess (that old Trent magic has you in its spell), Trent had had to listen to the recitation of his cold-blooded, deliberate murder of three people. The victims were a thirty-five-year-old woman, her thirty-seven-year-old husband and their ten-year-old son, although Carl hadn’t known their ages at the time.
Six months ago, in the milky whiteness of a winter dawn, Carl Seaton had broken into the modest two-story home of Aaron and Muriel
Stone to steal the small gun collection in the cellar. He admitted that he knew nothing about guns except the pleasure of holding them in his hands and the sense of power they gave him. Carl Seaton broke a cellar window, not worried about the noise of his intrusion, having learned that the family was away on vacation and that there was no alarm system.
He was disappointed to find that there were only three small guns in the so-called collection. He was surprised to find that the guns were loaded. He then decided to search the house. Thought he might find something of value, although he knew nothing about fencing stolen goods. Heard a noise from the second floor. Padded toward the stairs, his sneakers noiseless in the carpeted hallway. Upstairs, he entered a bedroom and was surprised to see a man and woman asleep in the bed. The woman slightly curled up, the bedclothes thrown off. Beautiful eyelashes, thick and curved. The husband flat on his back, mouth open, snoring gently. Carl became conscious of the gun in his hand, felt suddenly the power of his position. What it must feel like to be—God. Looking down at them, so helpless and defenseless, it occurred to him that he could do anything he wanted with them. They were at his mercy. He wondered what the woman would look like without her blue nightgown on. He had never seen an actual naked woman, only in magazines, movies and videos. But it was too much of a bother now to think about that. He didn’t want to spoil this nice feeling, just standing there, knowing he was in charge. He raised the gun and shot them. First, the man. The bullet exploded through the thin blanket, small shreds of green cloth filling the air like rain, the noise of the shot not as loud as he’d imagined it would be. As the woman leaped awake, her eyes flying open, he shot her in the mouth, marveled at the gush of blood and the way her eyes became fixed and frozen in shock. A mighty sneeze shook his body, the smell of gunpowder heavy in the air.
He wondered: Was there anybody else in the house who might have heard the shots? He went into the hallway, opened a door at the far end, saw a boy sleeping in a bed shaped almost like a boat, hair in neat bangs on his forehead. The boy’s eyelids fluttered. Carl wondered whether he should shoot him or not. Then decided that the boy would be better off if he did. Terrible thing to wake up and find your mother and father dead. Murdered. Carl shot the boy as an act of kindness, nodding, feeling good about it, generous.
Carl Seaton had confessed his acts of murder almost eagerly, glad to provide the details that would lead to his own doom, his voice buoyant with relief. Which was often the case with those who finally acknowledged their acts.
Trent felt only contempt for Carl Seaton, although he had simulated sympathy and compassion during the interrogation. Acting was only another facet of interrogating subjects. If he felt any compassion at the moment, it was for Carl Seaton’s parents. Carl was seventeen years old.
1. The title of this novel is drawn from two lines of a poem by William Butler Yeats, “The Circus Animals’ Desertion.” How does the phrase “the rag and bone shop” (i. e., a place where the worst castoffs end up) sum up the essence of this novel? What is Trent saying about his life when he quotes these two lines? (p. 71) And when he shifts into the final phase of the interrogation and remembers the first line? (p. 123)
2. After Jason vanquishes the bully Bobo Kelton with one blow, “he didn’t think he’d ever hit anybody again but he had proved himself capable of doing it.” (p. 26) How does the second part of that sentence become a weapon later for Trent? Why does hitting Bobo mean an end to Jason’s tears? Is the principal right when he says violence never solves anything?
3. Trent’s deceased wife Lottie had told him, “You are what you do.” Why, coming from her, is this an accusation? How, coming from Trent himself at the end, is it a death sentence? Is it true that people are what they do, not only in their jobs, but in the sum total of all their acts, good and bad? Can this be changed?
4. Sarah Downes (and also Carl Seaton) compares Trent to a priest. How are Trent’s interrogations like what a priest does in the confessional? But what crucial differences in Trent’s intentions and capabilities make the outcome for his “perps” entirely different?
5. The exact definitions of the following words are important to understanding the ideas that underlie Cormier’s themes of guilt, innocence, and forgiveness. Look up admission, confession, absolution, indictment,and remission and notice how their definitions overlap and where they differ. How are these terms central to this story?
6. What are the heavy external and internal pressures on Trent to get a confession from Jason? In real life, is it possible that this kind of pressure may result in hasty convictions of innocent people? Have you heard of any such cases? What might be done to keep this from happening?
7. Trent says he has “rules and regulations” for interrogations. What are some of these strategies that relate to the preliminary scenario, the physical set-up of the room, and the subtleties of psychological intimidation? How do these interrogation techniques affect the suspect?
8. “Thrust and parry” is a phrase Trent uses to describe the interrogation. From what sport does this expression come, and what image does it evoke? As the questioning proceeds, Trent suddenly knows irrevocably that Jason is innocent. How does he talk himself out of acting on this realization? What would have been the consequences if he had allowed himself to follow his conscience?
9. A stunning plot twist takes us by surprise when Trent emerges into the hall after he has tricked Jason into “confessing” and is told by Sarah Downes that Brad Bartlett has just admitted to killing his sister. Suddenly everything is different. What are the present and future implications of this new situation for Trent? For Jason? What emotions might they each have felt at this moment that they didn’t feel?
10. In the end, Jason’s view of reality has been badly twisted by Trent’s perverse questioning and his own false confession. What does he tell himself to justify his plan to kill Bobo? How will this action restore his self-respect? If he carries through on this murder, who will then need to confess?
Discussion questions prepared by Patty Campbell, author of Presenting Robert Cormier (Twayne, Dell) and 1989 winner of the ALA’s Grolier Foundation Award for distinguished service to young adults and libraries.
Posted June 12, 2011
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 2, 2013
Posted February 12, 2013
Posted January 9, 2013
The story is of the brutal murder of a seven-year-old girl named Alicia Bartlett and the interrogation of a twelve-year-old boy, named Jason Dorrant, who is her friend and the last known person to see her alive. Trent, an expert interrogator, known to get confessions which seemed impossible to obtain and has never lost a case, is called in for the case. you will have to read the book to get the rest its a good bookWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2012
Posted July 9, 2012
Posted March 11, 2012
Posted May 23, 2011
Posted February 19, 2011
It was a good book, don't get me wrong, and i enjoyed the plot - but it went very fast and it was very short. The details could have been better, certain parts could have been drawn out, things could have been expanded on. I suppose i would recommend this for younger teens, but i would guess older teens/adults would more enjoy other books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2010
This book, written by Robert Cormier, is an exciting mystery! It will keep you on your seat, guess until the end! The Rag and the Bone Shop is perfect for anyone looking for a good "who did it?" type mystery. Description and summary of main points Twelve year old Jason is just a shy kid hardly any friends. The few friends he does have are around the age of seven. One little girl in particular, Alicia. She was playing cards with Jason just like a regular afternoon. But as soon as Jason left, it was reported that Alicia was found dead. Murdered. But by who? Jason was the last person to see her alive so he is brought in for questioning. He swears he's innocent. Well the interrogator switches everything Jason says to make it seem like he's a brutal murderer. It all drove him mad to turn himself in, even though he did nothing. Alicia's sister then reveals the truth of who the real murderer is. But it keeps Jason wondering if he was truly capable of murder. I think this was a very good book! It was hard to put down due to all the suspense! Although I did find it a little confusing because with every chapter, the author switches points of view by going back and forth between Jason and the interrogator. But one you got the hang of it, it got better and you can focus more on the story. In conclusion, I found that I particularly enjoyed this book because I like mysteries that keep you guessing. And this one truly delivered. I defiantly recommend this book to kids in the late years of middle school or early days of high school. This is a book to get hooked on. A good book that will keep you guessing until the very last page! I loved this book a lot and I think you will too! Robert Cormier has done a great job once again! He writes many books about mysteries so if you like this one, you'll love the others! Read this book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 1, 2010
This is the first piece of righting I have read by Robert, and I found it to be extremely slow and dragged out. The plot of the story, I found thrilling, although it seemed to take forever to get there. I found myself putting the book down constantly, and it was hard to pick it back up. One thing that I did enjoy about this book was the fact that he explained it so well that when I found out that Alicia had been murdered I was sad.
This book tells about a young boy named Jason, and an older man named Trent. Robert tells the story from the two's perspectives, which I found hard to keep up with. The story tells about how Trent is feeling depressed, because his girlfriend has just passed and the sad interrogations are too much. But after the brutal death of Alicia Barton, the police call Trent to interrogate their only suspect, Jason. Who was reported to be the last one to see Alicia alive.
Robert did a fantastic job keeping me on the edge on my seat! I was always wondering if it really was Jason or not! He also did a marvelous job of making me feel like I was there. Like he described how the murdered laid Alicia down, and pulled her dress down and fixed her hair.
Although my thoughts about the books beginning were negative, in the end this was still I good read. I probably won't re-read this book again, but I will be checking out some of his other books.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes mysteries. It was a good quick read and didn't take me more than a week to finish. Many of my friends have read this book and found it all to be quite thrilling, so if you have some time on your hands I would check it out.
Posted May 18, 2010
Rag and Bone Shop
The book rag and bone shop is told by the perspective of a man named Trent and a twelve year old boy named Jason. When Jason's friend Alicia is brutally murdered the police become very suspicious of Jason. Why is a twelve year old boy hanging around a seven year old girl when she has an older brother Jason's age? Jason is after all the last one to see Alicia alive and it all begins to make Jason look very bad in the eyes of the police. The town wants answers because if it wasn't Jason, then who killed her? This is when Trent an investigator who's known for getting confessions is called in. Trent also comes with some of his own set of problems, as you listen to his story. His girlfriend has recently passed away which has left him very upset. For a man who hears so many terrible things daily this seems unusual. This griping story was one I found hard to put down. Even though it has kind of a darker side to it I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to be a quick read even though I am a slow reader. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who like a little bit of mystery.
Posted September 16, 2009
The Rag and Bone Shop was a good book. It was also Robert Cormier's last novel before he died in 2000. The book is about a 7 year old girl named Alicia who is murdered. Twelve year old Jason Dorrant is the last to see her, besides the killer. Jason is shy and quiet, and he likes hanging around people younger than him. Alicia was one of his friends.When he finds out that she is dead Jason is upset. He wants to help as much as he can with the investigation. While he thinks he is trying to help the police find the killer, the police think Jason is the killer. The police hire a man named Mr. Trent to do the interrogation. Mr. Trent is very good at what he does and usually gets a confession out of the suspect. Most of the story takes place in a little room that is hot and uncomfortable. There is a lot of pressure on Jason because the case depends on him. He is very young for being in such a serious situation. All the pressure creates suspense, wich makes you keep reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 16, 2009
I recomend this book to people that are into crime and investigation. It is a pretty good book. There is lots of twists. The twists make it fun and exciting. It can be boring at some points but it is still interesting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 9, 2009
this book made no sense to me.i absolutley hated it. i really dont reccommened it because all it does is drag out the whole story to get to the main point
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2008
Robert Cormier has done it again. This is a wonderful book. I read it in one day and could not put it down. Chapters are short and suspenseful. Of course, the end keeps you wanting more. I wonder if he planned a sequel while writing this. Unfortunately, we will never know the answer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2008
In this suspenseful novel ¿ The Rag and Bone Shop¿ is about a little girl, Alicia Bartlett that is murdered and her twelve-year-old friend Jason Dorant was the last person who was seen with her. In this story, a master interrogator Trent is called in to receive a confession but that is not all he might get in return. As you read this book you learn about interrogation and the process of solving a murder. Follow through with this story and learn what really happens at the end. Jason Dorant is twelve- year- old seventh grade student at Monument Middle School that was one of Alicia Bartlett¿s friends. He happened to be the last person seen with her. Jason is a seventh grader going into eighth grade and knew the family very well. Throughout the novel a very well known interrogator that always gets a confession interrogates Jason. Trent is very popular in the story. He is a Police Officer that specializes in interrogations and he mainly interrogates Jason in the novel. Alicia Bartlett is a seven- year- old girl that is brutally murdered in the story. Alicia is known to be a girly girl with a great attitude towards school and reading. She is like many other seven-year-old girls who are fond of playing with friends and also completing puzzles. In this novel Trent will not stop until he finds what he is looking for, the murderer. ¿ I think it might have been something that happened on the spur of the moment. Not quite an accident but certainly not planned, perhaps as surprising to the perpetrator as it was to Alicia.¿ In this quote it tells you how it might have happened. This was brought up by Trent, the interrogator. The quote written above gives you an idea of the novel and how the murder may have been committed. Trent discovered later that a blunt object, according to how she was found, might have been used to commit the murder. As I said, the murder may have been a spur of the moment sort of thing. Nobody knows for sure but that is for you to find out. I agree with this book. I think that the book can back up its information about the murder mystery. The author uses great characters with realistic police interrogations. There are no errors that occurred to me in the novel. The punctuation and grammar was great with no mistakes that cross my mind. This book is very similar to many other ones that I have read before.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 11, 2008
Robert Cormier really outdid himself in the book The Rag and Bone Shop. This was the first piece that I have read by this author and yet, I can say he¿s one of my favorite author¿s. After reading this book I truly believe that a book should not be judged by its cover. ''The body of 7-year old Alicia Bartlett was found,'' Cormier writes, ''between the trunks of two overlapping maple trees in dense woods only 500 yards from her home. . . . Whoever killed her had apparently laid her down with tenderness, folded her arms across her chest, pulled her dress down primly to her knees and carefully arranged her long black hair to frame her face.'' Just as summer stars for Jason Dorrant in Monument, Massachusetts so does a life changing investigation. Jason Dorrant is a timid 12-year-old boy of average intelligence and not many friends. The friends that he posses are primarily elementary students. He is just a nice young boy caught up in a chain of unordinary events. Alicia Bartlett is a seven-year-old girl in this book as a victim. I noticed that the use of a cute, intelligent, and sophisticated little girl helped catch my attention and really feel feelings that I would not otherwise feel with another character. Her random murder which occurs just a summer starts sparks the investigation that the book revolves around. ¿You made him confess.¿ Wrote Cormier, ¿Not a question but a statement. Voice Flat. More than flat, deadly, an accusation.¿ Sarah Downes is a character in this book that the reader will like because when times get tense during the course of this book she gives hope to the reader in the sense that she supports the innocence of Jason Dorrant. Lastly we have Mr. Trent, this man is said to be an outstanding interrogator. The Monument police are puzzled due to the fact that there is no kind of evidence to point to a perpetrator. So the Monument police contact Mr. Trent in the pursuit to interrogate the admission out of the primary suspect. The Senator of Massachusetts tells Trent that if he can come out with the perpetrator he can write his own check. With this now in the mindset of Trent, he becomes manipulative and sly. Great things are expected out of this character but he easily becomes a hated character. Cormier uses a very linear writing basis for this story. I think it suits very well. I must say that during the course of reading this book I had butterflies in my stomach, I had my stomach drop, I had my heart racing, and I got emotional. This book really does a great job of creating images and taking the reader on a wild ride. This book teaches you that there is more to a person that meets the eye and that a traumatizing event should not be rethought to much, or in other words a false accusation towards you should not change you into the accusation 'just because somebody says you are stupid doesn¿t mean you are'. Lastly don¿t let other people shape you. Finally I must critique on the writers style. He writes in a tense that suits a mystery suspense to the fullest extent. Along with writing this mystery he evidently did research on certain subjects throughout the book, such as the psychology of interrogation. Being the last book that Robert Cormier wrote before he died a year later, it was a perfect book with the perfect crime, with a perfect setting, and an outstanding story.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2008
Posted January 15, 2008
'Come on , you knew the woods, and that there are rocks there. Maybe you didn't mean to do it but maybe things got out of hand and you killed her.' These are the words 12 year old Jason Dorrant has to hear from a professoinal interrigator, Trent. It all started when authorities uncover the body of 9 year old Alicia Bartlett, in the woods of her small home town. Lieutenant Braxton is eager about this case because the senator's grandson went to school with Alicia, so he wants to crack someone down hard and fast. He finds his prime suspect, Jason, once he hears Jason was the last person to see Alicia alive. They don't have any solid evidence, but the lieutenant needs something. That's where Trent comes in. Trent is a professional interrigator, that loves his job. His job is to make people confess, innocent or not. He uses many techniques to make the suspect uncomfortable. Haunted by his ex-lover, Trent pushes himself to find the truth. Did Jason really do it? Is the 12-year-old capable of murder? Solve these questions yourself by reading this extrodinary book. I was immediately drawn to this book after the first couple of pages. I felt the pain and pressure Jason felt, and the eagerness to find the truth that Trent felt. I couldn't wait to find the answers of the previous questions. I would rate this book and 8 out of 10. Also, I strongly recomend this book to people 12 and up. Trust me it would not be a waste of your time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.