The Rag and Bone Shop

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Overview

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.

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Rag and Bone Shop

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Overview

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Robert Cormier, a man who had been called "the single most important writer in the whole history of young adult literature," died in 2000. Shortly before his death, he finished this gripping novel about a 12-year-old boy accused of murder. This story of a preteen's deadly predicament will stay in your memory forever. But would expect less from the author of The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese?
Publishers Weekly
Cormier's (The Chocolate War) final novel, published posthumously, is characteristically dark and thought-provoking as he delves into "the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart," (from the Yeats poem). The author offers an in-depth study of two complicated characters: Trent, an ambitious and renowned interrogator who holds a perfect record wrenching confessionals out of criminals, and 12-year-old Jason Dorrant, suspected of murdering his neighbor, seven-year-old Alicia Bartlett. The killing attracts much publicity plus the attention of a senator. The local police, anxious to solve the case quickly, call on the expertise of Trent to get Jason, the last person seen with the victim, to confess to the crime. The interview between Trent and Jason evolves into a taut, sinister mind game as the interrogation expert twists the boy's thoughts and manipulates his words. Jason parries the insinuations and accusations against him to the best of his ability, but finds himself questioning his own sense of reality. The tension mounts as it becomes increasingly evident that Trent is more concerned with getting Jason to say the words he wants to hear than discovering what really happened on the day Alicia died. 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. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
Cormier's final novel offers an in-depth look at an interrogator and a 12-year old suspected of killing his neighbor. According to PW's starred review, "The chilling results will leave an indelible mark on readers and prompt heated discussions regarding the definition of guilt and the fine line between truth and deception." Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2001: Cormier, author of the YA classics The Chocolate War, I Am the Cheese, and many other novels, completed this final story before his death last November. It concerns a 12-year-old named Jason, who is accused of the murder of seven-year-old Alice. Jason is a shy boy, more comfortable with younger children than with his peers. He was friendly with Alice—and he was the last person to have seen her before she disappeared. That makes Jason the prime suspect in the case, and an experienced (if severely depressed) policeman named Trent, an expert in eliciting confessions, is called in to interview him. Most of the book consists of this interview, and Trent succeeds in getting Jason to confess to the crime—even though, right at the end, it is revealed that he is innocent. Trent is left even more of a hollow man than before, abandoned in Yeats' "foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart." And Jason, traumatized by the experience of being pushed into a false confession, ponders, "But if you said you did it, maybe you could do it, maybe you could do something like that." Cormier hints strongly at the tragic consequences. The dual perspectives of Trent and Jason help readers understand how Jason is manipulated. Like other Cormier books, this deals with violence, with trust betrayed, with psychological intimidation. This grim but absorbing read would make for interesting discussions. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2001, Random House, Dell, Laurel Leaf, 154p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
From The Critics
Robert Cormier was truly one of the strongest voices in young adult writing, ever since the publication of his landmark 1974 novel, The Chocolate War. Here is the last book he wrote, with a short introduction written by his widow. The Rag and Bone Shop, its title taken from an old poem, is more accurately an adult novella, although the story centers on an adolescent who has inadvertently become the focus of a murder investigation in a small New England town. The sensibility of this novel is adult and, in fact, the story begins with a glimpse at a very tired adult just completing work on his previous case, analyzing his own lack of satisfaction. All he feels is a headache. He is a widower, missing the presence of his wife when he returns home. This protagonist is the crime investigator, simply called Trent, who lives in Vermont and has gained somewhat of a reputation as an expert in questioning witnesses and suspects. When seven-year-old Alicia Bartlett is found murdered in the Massachusetts town called Monument, Trent is called upon to conduct the questioning. The central, compelling scene of the novel reads like an extended movie scene, where the camera focuses on two characters reacting to one another. Twelve-year-old Jason Dorrant, the last person to see his neighbor Alicia alive, is questioned in a sophisticated yet outwardly innocent manner by the detective. At first, Trent asks simple questions of the boy and watches his reactions in body language and vocal inflection. As the scene continues, we notice that the questioning becomes more vehement and directional; even though we know, from the earlier scenes, that Jason is innocent, we see that the detective is becoming more determinedto prove Jason guilty, almost as a kind of sport. Jason becomes increasingly uncomfortable and confused. At the end, Trent elicits a confession from Jason that he is guilty, even though he is not. Clearly, the stress of the situation has driven the boy to make a statement to satisfy the interrogator. Word comes that the actual murderer has confessed and been booked. In a final tableau, we send a sadly psyched-out Jason, the poor victim of Trent's manipulative sessions, with a knife in his hands, ready to commit the very crime he has been falsely accused of. This is a compelling, tragic story. I do not think this is a children's book, although fans of Cormier will undoubtedly want to read it. However, The Rag and Bone Shop contains the same taut, fluid writing we have come to expect of Robert Cormier; it is a very strong piece of writing with cinematic potential as a brilliant character study. 2001, Delacorte Press, 144 pages,
— Stephen Fraser
VOYA
In his last novel, again set in fictional Monument, Massachusetts, Cormier relates the simple but shocking story of a boy wrongly accused of murder. Twelve-year-old Jason Dorrant was the last person to see seven-year-old Alicia Bartlett alive, so naturally he is called to police headquarters for questioning about the girl's murder. He arrives eager to help but nervous and self-doubting—the same characteristics he displays at school and with his peers. The police and district attorney are under great pressure from the media and an influential senator, whose grandson was Alicia's classmate, to make an arrest. So they bring in a ringer, Trent—a crack interrogator who always gets his confession. Most of the narrative describes his interrogation, held in a hot, windowless, cramped office in which Jason is broken down methodically by Trent. A twist at the end provides the story's true horror in familiar Cormier fashion. Constance Cormier's personal remembrance of her husband is printed at the book's beginning. In it, she states that he died before he was able to tinker with this manuscript, as was his habit. It shows, but not much. The dialogue is razor-sharp; Jason's thought process credibly demonstrates how and why he succumbs to the relentless interrogation; and the depth of Trent's character is revealed in flashbacks to other interrogations, his wife's death, and his self-loathing. This final offering by a beloved author is entertaining and provocative—the hallmark of a Cormier novel. Bravo again, and farewell to the master. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Junior High, definedas grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Delacorte, 154p, $15.95. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Florence H. Munat
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Cormier revisits familiar psychological and temporal territories in this memorable novella that was finished, but unpolished, at the time of his death. It's the beginning of summer vacation after seventh grade for Jason when his neighbor and friend, seven-year-old Alicia Bartlett, is murdered. Even though there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime, Jason is a suspect because he is thought to be the last person to have seen her alive. An ambitious, outside police interrogator who has a reputation for being able to extract a confession in difficult cases is brought in. Although Trent comes to believe that Jason is innocent, he succumbs to pressures of a high-profile investigation and successfully coerces a confession. Unfortunately for Trent, Alicia's older brother Brad confesses, is arrested, and charged. The interrogator is left with a tattered reputation and in the shocking denouement, Jason realizes that he has become a person capable of contemplating and thus, he asserts, carrying out a murder. The suggestion seems to be that childlike innocence, when betrayed by powerful, manipulative adults, can be easily subverted. Readers are shown a psychotic killer in the process of becoming. However, Jason, Trent, and the book as a whole present more questions than answers. Readers will be compelled to keep turning the pages, but will never know why Brad killed Alicia or if Jason is really capable of such a crime. These are things only individuals can know as they explore the dark interior of their own rag-and-bone shops.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The late Cormier's final work is a tense thriller exploring how confession affects those who give it and those who get it. Sometimes it's not good for the soul, as in this recounting of an innocent boy's earnest intent to assist in an investigation that has decided he is the culprit and must be coerced to confess. Pared-down characters are matched by straightforward prose in this spare account. Drawing on the Catholic doctrine stating that absolution follows admission of guilt, Cormier inverts the paradigm and shows the effects of confessing when there is no real wrong done. Part one is detective Trent's extraction of a chilling admission to multiple murders by Carl who seems to have aimlessly slid into doing horrible deeds. In part two readers meet Jason, who slid by in the seventh grade, almost unnoticed, and arrives at the first day of summer vacation looking forward to an easy time. Lacking confidence in himself, he spends time with neighbors more focused on seven-year-old Alicia than the boys his own age whooping it up in the pool. Along the way are glimpses of the detectives and local politicians whose intent is to catch the killer, as quickly as possible for the sake of their own reputations as much as the security of the community. Tension builds as Jason's earnest desire to see the culprit caught and his internal monologue about the completeness and veracity of his memories counterpoint the clever techniques used. Trent is the priest who not only hears the confession, but extracts it. By the end, the evil has spread like a miasma to cause further death. Highly discussible, the ethical questions contained are intricate and absorbing, but detract not at all from the increasingtension as the story unfolds. Chilling. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
“Tense and terrifying, this final book from Cormier will leave a lasting impression.”
–Booklist, Starred

“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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385900270
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/9/2001
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 154
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.39 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cormier
Robert Cormier’s many acclaimed novels include the classics The Chocolate War and I Am the Cheese. He is a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award, honoring his lifetime contribution to writing for teens.

Biography

With The Chocolate War, an unsparing story of corruption and brutal vengeance at a Catholic boys’ school, Robert Cormier turned what had been the sunny world of young adult fiction upside down. The book launched Cormier on a highly successful and often controversial career, in which he tackled the darker issues of adolescence and American suburban life.

Like the anonymously authored Go Ask Alice in 1975, an at times harrowing story of drug abuse for young adult readers, the Chocolate War – and others of the author’s books -- ran into trouble with parent groups who found the writer’s subject matter inappropriate and his approach too explicit. (According to Herb Fostal’s Banned in the USA, The Chocolate War was fifth on a list of the most frequently banned books in American public libraries and schools in the 1990s.)

Reviewers, however, praised his writing. A journalist for much of his life, Cormier balanced his characters’ grim situations with a deft, vivid, lyrical style. Reviewing The Chocolate War, a critic for The New York Times Book Review described it as “masterfully structured and rich in theme; the action is well crafted, well timed, suspenseful; complex ideas develop and unfold with clarity.” When it came to themes, Cormier was unromantic and unflinching. In I Am the Cheese, Cormier evoked the uneasy and elusive world of a boy whose father has testified against organized criminals; in The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, the story pivots around terminally ill teenagers; in Tenderness Cormier introduced a serial killer and a sexually manipulative teenage girl. “Every topic is open, however shocking,” he told a reporter for The Guardian in November of 2000, in what would be one of his last interviews. “It’s the way the topics are handled that’s important.” In Cormier’s world there are no easy answers and few happy endings, but there is extraordinary insight into the world of adolescence: the cruelties, the isolation, and the often-bruising search for identity.

Despite his reputation as a disturber of the literary peace, Cormier was a small-town writer, who spent nearly his entire life working as a journalist for the Fitchburg Sentinel in Massachusetts; he published a memoir of his career in 1991 titled I Have Words to Spend: Reflections of a Small-Town Editor. In addition to four novels for adults, Cormier wrote one last novel for young adults, Frenchtown Summer, the story of a young teenager’s arrival in a new town told entirely in the boy’s poetry. He died on November 2, 2000.

Good To Know

Robert Cormier never lived more than three miles away from the house where he was born in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Cormier included his own phone number as that of one of the characters in I Am the Cheese, and wound up taking calls from thousands of teenagers.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Fitch IV
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 17, 1925
    2. Place of Birth:
      Leominster, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      November 2, 2000
    2. Place of Death:
      Leominster, Massachusetts

Read an Excerpt

Part I

“Feeling better?”

“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.”

Pause.

“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.

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Reading Group Guide

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.

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  • Posted June 12, 2011

    The+only+way+to+describe+this+book+is+WOW%21%21%21

    This+page+turner+is+mysterious+and+will+leaves+you+on+your+knees+begging+for+more...+It+is+wonderfully+written+and+does+an+excellent+job+of+displaying+the+character%27s+emotions%21

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Pretty good

    It wasn't the but but wasn't the worst
    It was slow but a page turner because you want to know who done it
    I wush it would have been longer then 65 pages!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    Secret

    How many pages is this book?

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  • Posted January 9, 2013

    The story is of the brutal murder of a seven-year-old girl named

    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 book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Lightclaw

    Puts a wolf on the pile

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Fresh kill pile

    In darckclans camp there is a small pile contaning the food,usaully it hadfrogs,voles,mice,and if were lucky a squirrle

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Amazing read

    My language arts teacher recomended this book and she warite to do it . This was an amazing book

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Such a page turner!

    This book was good got me into reading murder mysteries.

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  • Posted February 19, 2011

    Good Read - Could be Longer

    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.

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    A Good Book!

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    It was Alright

    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.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    read this book!!!

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2009

    Good Book

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2009

    hello all you people

    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.

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  • Posted January 9, 2009

    This book was bad

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    Quick and suspenseful read

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    The Rag and Bone Shop

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2008

    The Rag AND Bone ShOp

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    nothing great

    It is a short read for people who like thin books with short chapters. It wasn't goo, and it wasn't bad. Just another book. Poor Alicia though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2008

    Uncover the Secret

    '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.

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